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People of SU
Written by Caitlin King, '10
September 23, 2019
Image credit: Yosef Chaim Kalinko
While many print and digital publications are undergoing subscription decline—with rare exception—My Edmonds News, a daily online news and information source for everything Edmonds, is bucking that trend. It’s practically a household name in its namesake, the scenic small city north of Seattle.
The powerhouse behind the digital news site is Teresa Wippel, ’79, who is both owner of My Neighborhood News Network and publisher of My Edmonds News. Awarded the city’s 2019 Citizen of the Year honor for her dedication to community-focused news coverage since 2009, it’s apparent she’s become one of the most influential members here. She recalls the day she was notified about the award by the Edmonds Kiwanis. “They said, we’ve named you Citizen of the Year, will you accept? And it was just like, oh my gosh, of course I accept.”
While sitting in a coffee shop in Edmonds, local resident Bruce Nickolson shyly walks over to thank Wippel for covering the unveiling of a stone bench honoring World War II veteran and friend Elmer Olson. An experienced journalist, Wippel understands how central local news is to fostering community. “When I first started publishing, my real mission was to try to make it a place of community conversation,” she says. “At the time, our community had newspapers, but not a place to gather and connect online.”
If you met Wippel, she wouldn’t tell you about how difficult it is thrive in media today. Instead, she might regale you with a story about her early days at The Spectator, Seattle University’s student newspaper, where she wrote moral pronouncements by typewriter, or how she met Walter Cronkite in the spring of her freshman year, when she and a handful of classmates took off in a 27-foot motorhome for a cross-country tour in celebration of the United States Bicentennial, stopping at major media outlets along the way.
After graduation, she moved to North Seattle with her husband. In 1986, they purchased a fixer-upper in Edmonds near Lake Ballinger. Though they have moved several blocks away since then, they still live in the same neighborhood today. In 2009, Wippel was in between jobs when her husband started advertising his business in MLTnews, a local new site launched by founder Dustin Dekoekkoek just a few months earlier. Wippel recalls him saying, “There’s this online news thing in Mountlake Terrace and I think you should start one in Edmonds. Because if you don’t, someone else will.”
Just like that, she started a WordPress site called My Edmonds News (myedmondsnews.com) and started attending city council meetings. In 2012, Dekoekkoek came to Wippel and asked if she could take over MLTnews (MLTnews.com). She agreed, understanding that if she turned down the opportunity, the site would go dark. A year later, the Lynnwood site was faced with the same fate. In an effort to preserve online local news, she acquired Lynnwood Today (lynwoodtoday.com) from founder Mike Murphy.
Despite the ever-changing media landscape, her perspective on how readers actually consume the news online today is hopeful. “On one hand, I could not do what I’m doing today,” she points out. “But the Internet leveled the playing field. Everything is accessible and we’re opening up the world to so many voices.”
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