New reporter joins Bellevue Reporter team | Reporter’s Desk

You don’t know me, Bellevue, but I know you.

I know the excitement of walking by the Barbie store at Bellevue Square Mall in the 1990s, you know, the entrance that had columns filled with thousands of pink little shoes. Whatever happened to that giant bear in the mall?

I know the hills of Somerset, where my grandparents sold their home of more than 50 years, where I babysat three beautiful children and I know of Somerset Elementary, where my car’s battery died while I was waiting to pick them up.

I know of the kind gentleman who bought double wheat grass shots nearly ever day at my first job, Jamba Juice in Factoria. I know of the countless loving families who worked at T-Mobile and sent their children to Newport Children’s School, my second job, my mom’s first job and my grandma’s — who knows — job, but she worked there.

I know of the fear and excitement I felt attending my first day of college at Bellevue College. It was a community college back then. Yes, the parking was still difficult.

I know, after moving into my first real apartment at Emerald Ridge, that I couldn’t wait to go blueberry picking on a beautiful summer’s day at Mercer Slough’s blueberry farm. Nevermind the grumpy bicyclists, trying to get by pedestrians who dare clog their thoroughfare.

I know there’s a lot about Bellevue I still don’t know.

But as the Bellevue Reporter’s new reporter, I plan to find out.

No, Bellevue, you don’t know me.

So, allow me to introduce myself.

I’m a hard-working, passionate journalist with five years of investigative experience, that is professionally. You see, journalism has run through my veins since I joined my high school newspaper at age 15. I was the opinions editor.

Fast forward to the University of Washington. Before graduating in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, you could find me trembling, tongue-tied and oblivious during my first internship – covering the Washington State Legislature’s 2012 regular session. It was the one where they legalized same-sex marriage in Washington. It cemented my desire to be part of something bigger – history, we’ll call it.

Wanting a broad experience, I interned with seattlepi.com and found a love in reporting on the culture of a city.

From there, I was hired by the Kirkland Reporter where I spent two years and the Federal Way Mirror, where I just wrapped up three years. At the Federal Way Mirror, I launched a monthly diversity section, won Feature Writer of the Year and met some of the bravest people.

And, so, Bellevue, I find myself at this newspaper, hungry for a new challenge, a new community and new stories. With this role as reporter, I take on a new role as assistant editor of the Eastside Scene. I take on this challenge newly engaged, 27 years old and with passion for life so large one thousand pink Barbie shoes couldn’t fill.

I ask you, Bellevue, to embrace me as your sole reporter. Embrace your weekly newspaper that works so hard to deliver hyperlocal news. And embrace your stories. I can’t wait to tell them.

Reporter Raechel Dawson (who really doesn’t know why her first name is spelled that way) can be contacted at 425-453-4602 or rdawson@bellevuereporter.com for story tips or just to say, “Hello.” She also has a Twitter account @RaechelD and a new Facebook Page www.facebook.com/raecheldawson1

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