Kirkland: Small Town Fell with Big City Affluence?

In our interview with Carrie Rodriguez and Rachel Dawson, we were told that while Kirkland is often thought of as being affluent, there has always been a desire to, “not be another Bellevue.”  The residents of Kirkland seem to wish to keep their small town feel, keeping sky scrapers out, and clear views in.

As I walked down sidewalk towards the Historic Waterfront, I noticed that the small-town shops all did seem to be two stories or smaller.  Kirkland has managed to keep the beautiful views amongst the bustle of their shops and downtown areas.

Contributed by Robert Seda


Kirkland Commmunity and Wine Tasting Excursion

As a group, we’ve all learned a lot about Kirkland’s community.  As an individual, I had a chance to explore the historic Waterfront, namely The Grape Choice wine shop.  The article I am going to write is all about my visit to The Grape Choice and background of the store and surrounding area.  The Grape Choice is situated in front of the Waterfront.  I could sit outside of the store and see the water from there very well.

The Waterfront is home to a number of restaurants and wine shops.  Wine and tasting rooms have been a part of the community in Kirkland and even now are growing in popularity.  They are a place for community gathering, whether for social or productive purposes.

The Grape Choice in particular is connected to the Community through its owners, husband and wife, Larry Spring and Penny Sweet.  They have served as Mayor and city council respectively.  In a way, The Grape Choice is a central hub of Kirkland.

Contributed by Robert Seda

The Community Paper

Coffee shops like Zoka are common all along the waterfront. This is the Greater Seattle Area after all.

The Kirkland Reporter is a fantastic paper that relies heavily on the input from the surrounding community. It is delivered to about 81,000 homes in Kirkland, WA with a determined readership. Even in the case of a national story or crisis, the writers at this publication stay true to the bonds that hold the community of Kirkland together.

I recently moved to Kirkland and decided that this project was a great way to become more familiar with the area. One thing I immediately noticed was that even in the thick of a booming city just minutes away from Seattle and Bellevue, Kirkland takes time to appreciate the finer things and smaller venues. Everthing along Lake Street in Downtown Kirkland gives off the vibe of “small town.” The little shops and coffeehouses are a great backdrop to a fun, community-centered newspaper like the Kirkland Reporter.

Small businesses and family run restaurants like the Grape Choice are very common in the Kirkland Area.

Obviously there are many other neighborhoods served by the reporting of this newspaper. I have not yet had a chance to walk through each neighborhood, but I believe the feeling will be very similar.

The overall result of this trip justified the work done by Carrie Rodriguez and her small team at the Kirkland Reporter. Suriviving on community input and local advertising, this newspaper brings together neighborhoods every Friday when the paper is delivered. Carrie even shared with us that some readers have their papers delivered to their homes in Arizona when they’re on vacation! To me, that proves the strength of community behind this paper and this city.

Contributed by Mali Murphy

Images via The Grape Choice and The Shot.

Website Front Page versus Green Edition


Here’s a screenshot of the front page of the Kirkland Reporter’s website. You can see that there’s quite a bit of advertising, and although it’s been cropped out, the entire background of the site is a larger advertisement.

frontpage2For the sake of comparison, here’s the green edition on their website, which can be viewed in greater detail here.

Note that the front page of the website is current while the green edition is from Nov. 1.

Contributed by everyone

Bits and pieces from the interview

When I asked if they ever covered national/global news, they said that they would cover national news on a local level. If someone in Kirkland is affected by a national news story, they’ll cover it. Carrie mentioned the BP oil spill as an example. I also asked them what their main competitors were. Their main competitor used to be the Kirkland Patch but they’ve apparently been having some problems. The competition never really impacted their revenue since only 7% of the Kirkland Reporter’s revenue comes from their online portion, and the Patch is online only. I also asked about community contributors. It seems like a lot of the contributions are from parents who write about their kids on sports teams. Sometimes those will get used if they can get enough information about the game. I believe they said that they get 1-2 contributors a week.

Contributed by Jason Herold

The Ws

From the questions I posed in my previous Ws blog post, these are the answers received in our group interview.

-Who… Three staff members for the Kirkland Reporter including Carrie, Raechel, and Matt. No photographer at this time, they use community contributions.
-What… Stories centered around local news and fun community events. No sports reporter, unfortunately.
-Where… Distributed to nearly all of the Kirkland neighborhoods except for recently annexed areas (only about 1300 homes). The scope of their stores can reach a national level as it pertains to Kirkland residents. For example, events in Kirkland focused on raising awareness for the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings.
-When… On Tuesday of each week at 3 p.m., pages and stories go to layout, by Wednesday it goes to printers and on Fridays the newspaper is delivered.
-Why… News focused on Kirkland communities at a local level. It serves as a well-rounded “neighborhood” newspaper.
-How… The staff definitely works hard to bring relevant and quality stories to the paper. They still rely on quite a bit of community input from pictures to local events and even sports scores.

Contributed by Mali Murphy

Post Site Visit

I was interested to see that the Kirkland Reporter focuses very firmly on Kirkland and covers national or international news almost exclusively in ways that connect to Kirkland.  This was the answer I received to my question regarding the scope of the paper’s coverage.  The office was rather small for what I had expected to see.  They had 3 individuals who seemed to cover the majority of Kirkland’s news, Matt Phelps, Rachel Dawson and the regional editor, Carrie Rodriguez.

They seemed like a tight-knit group with a lot invested into giving the news of Kirkland, through the lens of Kirkland.

By Robert Seda