As we look back at the Federal Way Mirror’s 20-year history, I am excited to reflect on this newspaper’s thriving role in the community today.
During the past two decades, the digital revolution has overhauled the media landscape as well as our smartphone society’s expectations for news. The transition has coincided with a pair of recessions that left surviving news outlets struggling to reinvent themselves for the 21st century. Most news outlets today act like shepherds for clickbait instead of the information gatekeepers they once were.
The Mirror has also endured its share of cuts for survival’s sake. But I am here to tell you that the Mirror is here to stay.
Sure, there are bigger news outlets in Seattle and Tacoma with a fleeting presence in this community. They occasionally swoop into Federal Way to capture a crime headline that generates a few clicks on their websites.
The Mirror, however, is invested in Federal Way every day – and we have the boots on the ground to prove it. We report the news and we give people a place to share their views. We celebrate Federal Way’s finest citizens and businesses. We connect local businesses with readers and we connect local political candidates with voters. We hold our public officials accountable. We partner with organizations that share a mission to improve Federal Way’s quality of life. We strive to be a catalyst for positive change.
I have worked in communities where residents referred to their local newspaper with an unflattering nickname, or even worse, treated it with indifference.
But it is evident that Federal Way folks support the Mirror, whether they read it in print or online. Look no further than all the “support boxes” from community members in the special commemorative magazine available this week.
On that note, the Mirror will donate a portion of proceeds from this magazine to help fund memberships at the Boys and Girls Club as well as scholarships through Federal Way Rotary.
The community’s connection with the Mirror is one reason I am grateful to be back in Federal Way after becoming your publisher in May 2017. I had previously served as the Mirror’s editor from 2006-2013 before following an opportunity to improve my journalism skills at a daily newspaper. I gained new insights into journalism during that four-year stretch, but I also grieved over leaving Federal Way. I missed working in a community where the newspaper mattered to people from all walks of life and where a story could have an immediate impact. I missed being part of one of the state’s most culturally diverse cities, and I even missed the Mirror’s online commenters, who have typically been more civil than all the rest.
Most of all, I appreciate the chance to reconnect with a community where in many ways the grass has always been greener. On behalf of the Mirror family, I hope you enjoy this magazine and the accompanying trip down memory lane. Thank you, Federal Way, for helping the Mirror celebrate our 20th anniversary – and for helping us get here in the first place.
Contact Mirror Publisher Andy Hobbs: firstname.lastname@example.org or 253-336-5359