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Meet new Federal Way Mirror reporter Raechel Dawson
Like many in western Washington, I was introduced to Federal Way as a child.
I was extremely eager to ride the ferris wheel at Wild Waves’ Enchanted Village (now known as Kiddie Land) and equally terrified of the Ring of Fire.
For those unfamiliar, it’s the roller coaster that goes back and forth in a circle but strategically stops at the highest point leaving you to dangle upside down.
It was a bittersweet relationship with Wild Waves every summer.
And in reflecting on my move from the Kirkland Reporter to the Federal Way Mirror this May, my feelings were quite similar: Eager, enthused, excited, but also somewhat fearful of the unknown.
Hanging upside down in a contraption that was seemingly safe, yet pretty foreign altogether, could only be conquered by holding my breath, buckling up and putting faith in that tarnished cage (meant to keep people from slipping out).
Analogies aside, my perception of Federal Way was that it was very different from the “safe” Kirkland I was used to.
Kirkland is where I first started my professional journalism career and it didn’t help that sources jokingly advised I prepare for my next chapter in life by purchasing Kevlar bulletproof vests.
Little did I know, my first full week here would be fraught with police searching for a Federal Way murder suspect, who has since thankfully been caught.
But now I’ve been here about two weeks and I’ve started to understand the ins and outs of the confusing, yet highly controversial, Performing Arts Conference Center - thanks to very helpful Federal Way city officials.
Day by day, step by step, Federal Way is starting to feel like a city I can fit into.
Ironically, it helps that my past has strong ties to my present. Mirror editor Carrie Rodriguez hired me in Kirkland, as she was the former editor for that newspaper as well. Carrie took a chance on me as I stood before her barely two months out of college at 22-years-old but I know she isn’t taking a chance with me now.
And Federal Wayans, you shouldn’t feel that way either.
It is Carrie who taught me how to find a criminal’s charging documents, how to request public records of a shady city councilman or woman, and how anecdotal leads stir emotions.
In my two years in journalism, I’ve managed to earn one regional award from the Society of Professional Journalists and five Washington Newspaper Publisher’s Association awards. I know there’s more to come because I hold myself to a high standard. It is a standard I hope this city holds me to as well.
I can assure the Federal Way community that I will strive to make your voices heard on issues that will affect you and your families. I will investigate; I will ask the hard questions.
While I may not live here - I’m currently hanging out in the city of the Seahawks Training Facility, or Renton — I do have a beautiful soon-to-be-10-year-old sister and energetic 4-year-old brother who do live in Federal Way.
Because of this, I already care deeply about a city I’m just getting to know.
So, send me your story ideas, introduce yourselves so that I can begin to scratch the surface of the 92,000 people who live here. Everyone has a story.
Raechel Dawson began at the Federal Way Mirror in May. Contact her at 253-925-5565 ext. 5056 or firstname.lastname@example.org.