These stories lift the veil, show staffers have a human side

karen.peterson@thenewstribune.comJune 16, 2013 

Sometimes, just for fun, I return phone calls to people who leave nasty messages on my voicemail.

A guy who leaves an anonymous message calling all the editors a bunch of idiots is usually surprised when one of the “idiots” calls him back. Caller ID is a wonderful thing.

Maybe it’s easy to rail against a faceless institution like The News Tribune. But when confronted with a real, live, imperfect human being who works here every day to put out the paper, the callers usually warm up.

Part of this is our fault. As journalists, we try to stay out of our stories and let the newsmakers be the stars. Occasionally, we find an opportunity to let you get to know us better. Today’s paper includes two examples.

Military reporter Adam Ashton writes in today’s South Sound section about his travails traveling the world in the pursuit of good stories. Some of that he did while working for papers in Merced and Modesto, Calif., some while working in McClatchy newspapers’ Baghdad bureau. Last year, he and TNT photographer Peter Haley embedded with Stryker soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Afghanistan. More recently, he climbed Mount Adams with a group of Special Operations Forces soldiers.

The latter trip resulted in Ashton lying low for days in a Hood River hotel room recovering from snow blindness. He hadn’t worn sunglasses on the climb, and the bright light burned his eyeballs.

After healing up, Ashton decided to write about those reporting trips and his penchant for journalism-related injuries. He didn’t intend the piece for publication, but after he shared it with a few of us, we decided to share it with you. We think it gives you a better sense of what reporters go through sometimes and a better sense of Ashton, himself.

Plus, it’s a pretty funny tale.

Today’s Adventure section lets you get to know three other TNT newsroom staffers. Adventure writer Craig Hill has written in recent months about his trip last summer circumnavigating Mount Rainier on the Wonderland Trail. He’s done separate pieces on training for a long hike, packing for it and deciding what time of the year is best.

Today, Hill tells the story of the hike itself, of what it was like to spend a week with three friends, testing their wilderness skills and learning more about each other and themselves. TNT local news editor Matt Misterek and photographer/copy editor Drew Perine hiked with Hill, as did their buddy, Thad Richardson.

In addition to today’s print story, our website showcases a map with videos embedded at points around the Wonderland Trail. They allow you to see and hear the hike for yourselves. A separate video has each hiker tell in his own words what the trip meant to him.

We hope you don’t find it too self-indulgent, and we won’t do it often, but occasionally we think it’s OK to share with you a little bit more about ourselves.

You’re always welcome to join us for an afternoon news meeting. They occur at 3 p.m. every weekday. If you’re interested, send an email to Grace Ryan at


TNT readers Roy and Pat Helland wrote recently asking us to recognize their carrier, Peggy Karlinsey, who retired May 19.

“Peggy Karlinsey has faithfully delivered our News Tribune for the past 26 years!” they wrote. “We have not missed a single paper — not one! Not only were the papers delivered every day, but they were delivered early!

“We would like to thank Peggy and honor her — not only for her spirit of excellence — but also, and especially, for the care and kindness she shared with all of us in our University Place neighborhood.”

Our carriers’ delivery performance is not perfect, but they work hard traveling back roads in the wee hours, enduring bad weather, car breakdowns or family emergencies, trying to ensure your paper is there for you every morning.

Phil Schroder, TNT audience development director, said Karlinsey has been one of our best carriers.

“She had a total of 10 complaints with almost 28,000 deliveries,” he said. “Impressive.”

From the Hellands and the rest of us, happy retirement, Peggy.

Karen Peterson: 253-597-8434

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