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News / Clark County News

From the Newsroom: Celebrating kids and hot dogs

By Craig Brown, Columbian Editor
Published: June 24, 2023, 6:04am
2 Photos
Taylor Balkom/The Columbian 
 Columbian employees enjoy a hot-dog barbecue at the newspaper office on Thursday.
Taylor Balkom/The Columbian Columbian employees enjoy a hot-dog barbecue at the newspaper office on Thursday. Photo Gallery

Unlike my predecessor, Lou Brancaccio, I am not a big fan of hot dogs. But I made an exception and ate one on Thursday when we had a company picnic.

Although we don’t usually serve hot dogs, we hold these company food days once a month as a team-building exercise and as a way to lure staff members into the office. Three years after the pandemic began, it’s not unusual for more than half of our newsroom to work remotely on any given day. Food usually attracts a few more faces.

Besides the hot dogs, Thursday was special because we were celebrating publication of a Columbian Kids Edition, which you will receive as an insert to your newspaper today.

Innovation Editor Will Campbell took the lead on this project, which was conceived with the help of the nonprofit Columbia Play Project. Columbia Play Project is hosting its first Family Play Day, which takes place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. today at Vancouver Waterfront Park, 695 Waterfront Way.

The location probably had something to do with the theme of our colorful 12-page tabloid, which is full of easy-to-read articles and activities. It was produced by Will with the help of The Columbian’s prepress department and the Riff Agency.

Why a kids edition? Will explained it this way: “We are experimenting with things at The Columbian, including this kids edition, and we will be doing more in the future because the people working on it have already been so excited about it.

“Younger generations are realizing the joy of holding a print book of newspaper with no digital distractions or digital eye strain. It is something they can interact with, tuck away, find years later and think: I learned about this thing on that day. This is history.

“The kids edition will give our youngest readers that feeling. Parents and grandparents: give this copy to your young family members and teach them about the news.”

If that doesn’t merit a hot dog, I don’t know what does.

Honoring high school athletes

Nobody follows high school sports in Southwest Washington like our five-member sports team. They are out in the field every day during the season, interviewing athletes, talking to coaches and watching the contests. Every week, they nominate athletes of the week, which readers can vote on. Winners receive a certificate and a small prize, courtesy of our sponsors.

At the end of the season, the sports team selects all-stars from each sport, who are highlighted with stories and, the last couple of years, commemorative poster pages that are published exclusively in our ePaper. We offer printed copies of the poster pages to the winning athletes at no cost.

This year, we are taking it a step further. For the first time, we are creating an online Athletes of the Year special project, which collects all of the honorees in one place. By using our special projects format, we can collect text, photos and video (our sports team shoots a lot of video when they are in the field), creating a one-of-a-kind trove of information.

We aren’t planning to put this into the print edition; most all of it has been previously published. But this is a unique chance to put the entire school year together. It should be online Sunday morning at projects.columbian.com.

I am looking forward to reading about these inspirational kids and their accomplishments.

Weekend edition

I hope you’ve been enjoying our new weekend edition published on Saturday. It’s been well-received by readers, many of whom say it just feels thicker. News Editor Merridee Hanson has been counting, and she said that it has been averaging 25-30 more stories than the combined Saturday and Sunday papers it replaced. So, if today’s paper takes longer to read, that’s part of the reason. Enjoy!