Reporter Raechel Dawson says farewell to journalism career

Eastside journalist moves on after six years in field.

For some in the Eastside community, you’ve been reading my work since I arrived in Bellevue last summer. Maybe you even remember my byline from 2012-14 when I wrote for the Kirkland Reporter.

Others, were likely introduced to my writing within the last few months after a re-organization that focused my reporting to crime and human interest stories throughout 10 cities and seven publications.

Whenever, whatever way our paths crossed, thank you.

Thank you for reading.

Thank you for caring.

Thank you for making a six-year career in journalism worthwhile.

It is this second week of May in which I spend my last days reporting, and look forward to a new chapter in my life. A chapter in which I will become a communications consultant for Highline College.

Although I am leaving journalism, I will never leave behind the stories – and people – I’ve encountered along the way.

So many families have opened their homes to me and have had the courage to share difficult memories of lost loved ones so that they could make sure their legacy was told.

So many voices have had the courage to speak up when it mattered.

So many stories of people doing good deeds have been written despite all of the bad ones that needed to be told too.

Those reasons are why it is hard to leave behind a profession I had worked toward since I was chosen to be on my high school’s newspaper at age 15. Telling people’s stories is in my blood.

But with growth, comes change.

The newspaper industry has been forced to change, change again, and then change some more. I’m not the first, nor am I the last, to say publishers, presidents and CEOs in media have had to make tough decisions with these changes. And while I’m a firm believer that news is as important now as it was 50 years ago (if not more so), I recognize not all are so willing to invest in the industry. #FakeNews might have something to do with that, but if I’m being honest, the industry has been fighting for the return of its heyday long before that.

I’ve put in the good fight. I believe there’s still some left, but unless there is a concerted effort with the community who values its local newspaper, I fear the worst.

It’s important now more than ever to support your local newspaper because if you don’t, it might not be here in 10 years.

Journalists are so much more than posters or commenters on Nextdoor or Facebook. Journalists are trained professionals in truth telling, fact checking and considering the 4,588 sides to every story. Journalism upholds a democracy by educating voters.

But it’s a two-way relationship. Without community support, journalists cannot tell its stories.

Here are some ways to show your support:

1. Write a letter to the editor saying what you liked about that week’s edition. What stories did you appreciate?

2. Take out an advertisement for your local business or suggest it to those who do.

3. Consider our online advertising packages.

4. Subscribe to your free weekly paper for guaranteed delivery at no more than $39 a year.

5. Send story ideas that you think your community would appreciate reading.

6. Ensure your local paper is the city’s newspaper of record.

7. Subscribe and listen to our regional podcast Seattleland.

8. Like/follow your newspaper on social media. Become engaged and comment/like!

9. Involve your newspaper in important city/community events.

10. Be patient with your newspaper as it changes.

Thank you, Eastside community. Until we meet again, Good Night, and Good Luck.

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