Karen Peterson

Karen Peterson: Photos, travel, mobile news among grab bag of news topics

For today, a grab bag of news topics.


There’s been an update on a topic I wrote about in November. I shared then our decision to stop running photographs taken by White House photographers of news events that excluded press photographers. President Barack Obama, more than previous presidents, declares his meetings and other official duties “private,” and shuts the door to the press. Subsequently, his staff releases photos shot by his official photographer.

We consider those pictures to be public relations shots created to flatter the president, when what the public needs is documentary photography of important events.

Dozens of journalism organizations signed a letter protesting the practice and delivered it to the president. We and several other news agencies said we’d no longer run the White House photos.

Last month, representatives of some of those organizations met at the White House with press secretary Jay Carney and other staff members to discuss the matter.

David Boardman, former editor of The Seattle Times and president of the American Society of News Editors, attended the meeting. He told Poynter MediaWire afterward that the meeting showed the administration was taking the matter seriously.

Journalists and administration officials agreed to form a working group to develop guidelines for covering White House events.

“I think and expect this was not just a meeting of niceties and platitudes,” Boardman told Poynter, “but that it was the beginning of a process that’s going to result in some concrete steps.”

We’ll keep you updated on their progress.


The outcome of Sunday’s Seattle Seahawks game will determine whether we put a team of journalists on the road next week to cover the Super Bowl.

But we also have plans to travel for other upcoming stories.

Military reporter Adam Ashton is on his way to the Army’s National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. He’ll catch up there with members of the cavalry unit from Joint Base Lewis-McChord that he first met in Afghanistan in 2012. Now that the wars are winding down, the unit is training for its new mission aimed more at the Pacific Rim region.

We’re going to Colorado the first week of February to see for ourselves how recreational pot legalization is working. Colorado is a few months ahead of Washington in opening retail stores and regulating grow operations.

We’ve planned a series of stories that will show readers what a pot store looks like, introduce them to buyers, look at some grow operations and visit a community that’s banned recreational pot sales.

Our features staff will fan out to six locations across the state to write a series of weekend getaway stories for a section we’re planning for March. The best way to write a travel story is to go there and experience it yourself. Each of our six staffers agreed to take one for the team and spend an overnight in a place such as Walla Walla or Hood River or Lake Chelan.

Oh, to be a features writer.


Contrary to the common perception that young people go elsewhere for news, recent reports show a majority of 18-to-34-year-olds read newspaper content and trust its credibility. However, they don’t read news the same way we older readers do.

A new report by the Newspaper Association of America states 56 percent of young people get their news from a newspaper — either in print or online — in an average week.

A similar study by Scarborough Research put the number at 57 percent.

In the NAA study, 60 percent of so-called Millenials said their local newspaper and its website are trustworthy. Only 43 percent believe information they get from social media sites is trustworthy.

Millienials are more than twice as likely to get their news on a mobile device — a smartphone or tablet — the report said. Millions of them use a mobile device exclusively.

We embrace readership in any format. Money from digital subscriptions and advertising is a growing source of revenue that helps pay for our journalism. These studies reinforce the need to perfect and expand our mobile offerings as we welcome these young readers into the TNT fold.

Karen Peterson: 253-597-8434