Here’s the reasoning. We know a lot of our print customers watch TV news, and many also get additional national and world news online. By the time our newspaper reaches them, they’ve already gotten the story. What we can offer uniquely is the very best coverage of news and features about Clark County and Southwest Washington. Last year, we won multiple awards for our excellent coverage of high school sports, so when we have a good story that’s a little different, we want to showcase it on A1.
And here’s a smaller reason, but it is something that has always galled me: Our current system of choosing major party candidates relies on a handful of early-voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire. By the time Washington gets around to it, each party’s choice almost always has been made. So if you like, say, Nikki Haley or Chris Christie, you may not get a chance to vote for them.
A deep subject
It won’t be too long before we choose our top stories of the year. But even with six weeks to go, I can already tell you what our top online story of the year will be. This story has more than double the online readership of any other story we’ve published this year. Can you guess what it is?
It’s a story by business reporter Sarah Wolf about an old cistern, not on any modern map, that was uncovered on Fifth Street downtown. Sarah did a great job with the story, finding an 1888 fire insurance map that suggested the cistern was built to protect the adjacent Hotel St. Elmo. Fire hydrants weren’t a dependable thing in those days, so the cisterns protected major structures.
She even found out about the St. Elmo. With 77 rooms, it was the place to go in Vancouver, hosting groups like the Prunarians, which promoted Clark County’s claim to fame: prunes.