Thursday, September 3, 1998
When you consider that today''s scientists are at the polar ice caps collecting data explaining 200,000 years of global climate history, the 10 years of local history covered by Coast Weekly seems pale in comparison. Yet to many of my staff, and certainly to me, these 10 years seem like an eternity.
The process of publishing a newspaper is rigorous; there are relentless demands on our staff''s creative energy, week after week. We consider the mass of local information that both pours into our office from the public, we extract other information from often unwilling sources, and we make challenging decisions about what stories are most important to cover--sometimes after long discussion and passionate disagreement.
Through detailed research, personal interviews and creative writing, reporters and editors generate thousands of words of editorial copy that is subsequently flowed to the graphics department and designed for its final resting place: the newspaper (and now online at www.coastweekly.com). Hundreds of clients partner with us, resulting in hundreds of display and classifieds ads to schedule, build, and incorporate into the paper. No matter what obstacles are cast in our path--and they are many--we cannot be late to the printing presses. Finally, our distribution network kicks in, delivering more than 42,000 issues of Coast Weekly to nearly 1,000 sites--on time.
Some weeks we capture an idea or insight or report on an issue that, as a result of our publication, will make a positive change to some person, institution or the community at large. But relishing the joy of our achievement is always cut short. By the time you begin to read any given Thursday''s issue, we are already deep into the following week''s paper. There''s no time to drink in our success or rest on our laurels; there''s a new deadline to meet. Fortunately, our embarrassing moments are obscured just as quickly by the onslaught of work to be done! Always we start again, and exert our energies toward next week''s issue. There is no finish line.
Coast Weekly celebrates its 10th anniversary with this special issue because we want to put our ongoing project in perspective. In an age when mega-corportations are expanding (Knight Ridder''s recent purchase of the Monterey County Herald, for example), starting a local newspaper--and outlasting hoards of competitors, the closure of Fort Ord, an earthquake, two wide-scale floods, a transformed economy due to the displacement of independent businesses--is noteworthy.
In this issue, 10-year Coast Weekly veteran and Associate Editor Chuck Thurman writes about our history. Staff writers Sue Fishkoff and Catrina Coyle perused our back issues and selected a variety of Letters to the Editor that they think you''ll enjoy reading today, including interviews with some of the more consistent of these letter contributors. Three community leaders present Public Forum columns about Coast Weekly''s contributions--community activist Bill Monning, Seaside resident Jackie Lambert and political consultant Bob McKenzie. We also look back at some of the most memorable cover stories. Then Thurman muses on our high points--and low ones, too. Staff writer Richard Pitnick reports on issues we''ve championed and recognition we''ve received. This is followed by a variety of staff reports--from news editor Jill Duman, food writer Catherine Coburn, and myself (as well as Pitnick and Thurman)--on how Monterey County has evolved since 1988, focusing on the environment, economy, media, politics, dining and the arts. Fishkoff flashes back to 1988, the year it all began, and, finally, reporter Steve Jones looks into a crystal ball to prophesy the future of Monterey County. All this, plus our regular coverage of local news, arts, entertainment, culture, and food.
When I started Coast Weekly in 1988, I never imagined that we would have the largest circulation of any newspaper in the county today, but we do. Our circulation has doubled in 10 years, while both the daily newspapers show declines of nearly 10 percent. I''m delighted that so many of you pick us up weekly and read us regularly. I''m grateful that so many local businesses have chosen to partner with Coast Weekly and I''m excited that the number of people placing classified ads is increasing continually.
Over the years, Coast Weekly has attracted individuals who are exceedingly bright and dedicated to this newspaper''s mission and the community''s best interest and I''m fortunate to have worked with so many talented people--a big thanks to the current staff, the best yet. Finally, I''m thankful for the incredible support from my partner, Jeanne (both professional and personal, including serving as my editor) and daughter Kate, who have to live with the continual interruptions and pressures that come with publishing Coast Weekly.
Thank you all for your ongoing support and appreciation. I hope Coast Weekly continues to earn it.
Bradley Zeve, Editor & Publisher