Opinion

Bellingham Herald’s new space is designed for the digital company we’ve become

The Bellingham Herald’s new office in Barkley Village

The Bellingham Herald moved to new offices in the Dorothy Haggen Building at 2211 Rimland Drive, Suite 301, in Bellingham, Wash., on Aug. 19, 2019.
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The Bellingham Herald moved to new offices in the Dorothy Haggen Building at 2211 Rimland Drive, Suite 301, in Bellingham, Wash., on Aug. 19, 2019.

The boxes are almost all unpacked; just a few more pictures to hang. Our new office is starting to feel like home.

After 93 years in the Herald Building downtown, The Bellingham Herald staff moved Aug. 19 to Barkley Village. We’re in the Dorothy Haggen Building at 2211 Rimland Drive, Suite 301.

Our new space is designed for the digital company we’ve become. The open floor plan, meeting rooms and upgraded technology provide a space that fuels collaboration.

Plenty of parking and security were also important. And the area offers lots of dining and recreation options for staff members. We’re looking forward to meeting our new neighbors.

We’re just four miles from downtown, but better placed to get to other areas in the county where half of our readers live and work.

We know we left the Herald Building in good hands. Bob Hall and David Johnston bought it from McClatchy, which owns the newspaper, for $2.35 million in June 2009.

Our presses were removed when the building was sold. Rock and Rye restaurant is in the space now.

We’ve contracted with other newspapers to print the paper in several locations while Hall’s Daylight Properties leased us the second-floor offices and basement for distribution.

We moved our distribution center several months ago to an industrial area north of downtown, avoiding parking and traffic conflicts with the burgeoning restaurant and bar scene downtown.

Customer service continues to be online or by the phone. For newspaper delivery and billing, call 360-676-2660. You can mail subscriber payments to P.O. Box 510296, Livonia, Mich., 48151. For classified ads or obituaries, call 360-676-2610.

With the digital evolution of news and advertising, we decided to find offices that better met our collaborative needs.

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The Bellingham Herald sign hangs on the Woburn Street side of the Dorothy Haggen Building at 2211 Rimland Drive. The newspaper moved its offices there Aug. 19. Julie Shirley The Bellingham Herald

Moving was a big task. We invited the historical society, Western Washington University and area libraries to see if they were interested in the files we’d collected over the years. Thankfully, we didn’t have a cache of old newsprint. Our stories going back to 1903 are all online in the Newbank Archive.

The YMCA, Habitat for Humanity, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services, Whatcom Center for Early Learning, Max Higbee Center and Kulshan Supportive Employment were happy to have much of the office furniture we didn’t move.

For the business side of our efforts, the new space offers facilities and technology required to collaborate with staff across McClatchy’s national advertising network.

In the past several years, the news staff has used digital analytics to focus on stories that attract readers and are important to our subscribers. We plan to use our new collaborative spaces to invite in community stakeholders to help us ensure we meet the news needs of the community.

Our recent shift to digital-only Saturdays has led many subscribers to discover our Extra Extra pages in our eEdition.

A reader recently wrote to me that the eEdition “reminds me of the International Herald Tribune, which I used to read during my many years of teaching overseas. Your staff does an amazing job of choosing stimulating articles on a variety of topics from the New York Times and other reputable sources. We are so fortunate to have such a great newspaper in our community.”

That’s a great reminder that the daily eEdition offers dozens of digital-only pages devoted to national and world news, features and sports. The eEdition more than triples the news available to subscribers.

It’s no secret newspapers no longer have the mass audiences we once had. Social media, digital news sources and the pace of our lives cut into our readership. But we still have about 1.7 million news page views a month.

This week on Facebook, I loved seeing somebody in a group post Dave Gallagher’s rock story in response to another poster’s query about what was going on.

Nobody does as much original reporting in Whatcom County as we do. Nobody stays with Whatcom stories as we do.

The numbers prove that. The Bellingham Herald is just 300 subscribers away from returning to year-over-year audience growth.

I hope you will support the work we do with a digital subscription to The Bellingham Herald for yourself or a friend.

If you have a story that needs to be told, please let us know. Online we provide a step-by-step guide on how to communicate with reporters and editors as safely and securely as possible.

Julie Shirley directs news coverage for The Bellingham Herald and has been the executive editor since 2003. She’s been an editor in Florida, California and Washington since 1979.
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