PORT ANGELES — A history of Clallam and Jefferson counties as seen through the eyes of those who wrote it is offered in retired journalist Bill Lindstrom’s newly published book, “Strait Press: A History Of News Media On The North Olympic Peninsula.”
“This book tries to explain how the media handled history,” Lindstrom, 76, said Tuesday.
The Olympia resident will launch his chronicle Friday in Sequim.
Lindstrom, a working reporter and editor from 1960-2013 and news editor of Peninsula Daily News in Port Angeles from 2000-2001, will host a book-signing event from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Sequim Museum and Arts, 175 W. Cedar St.
It will include refreshments, a 7 p.m. presentation about the book, and participation of former Sequim Gazette publisher Brown Maloney, who underwrote Lindstrom’s more than 600-page effort.
Maloney will moderate upcoming panel discussions on “Strait Press” featuring some of the 62 people Lindstrom interviewed over 3½ years, a feat that included a move to Olympia to be closer to the state library for easier research.
The free panel-presentations will be at 12:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Jan. 10 at Peninsula College’s Little Theatre in Port Angeles, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd.
Lindstrom, former Newsradio KONP owner Jim McDonald, retired Peninsula College journalism instructor Robbie Mantooth, and former Peninsula Daily News publishers John Brewer and Frank Ducceschi will be featured at the 12:30 presentation.
Lindstrom, Brewer, Ducceschi, McDonald and Lonnie Archibald, a longtime West End photographer, author and PDN freelancer, will be at the 7 p.m. discussion.
Those interviewed for the book include current and former staff members of Peninsula Daily News and other publications and broadcast outlets in Clallam and Jefferson counties.
Lindstrom said he had 1,000 copies printed in the self-published book’s first run. Those will be available for purchase at all three events.
Lindstrom employed a journalistic term to refers to the heart of his account.
“The nut graph, I think, is this book is not only for those who might be interested in the media industry,” he said.
It’s a media industry that has covered issues from sensational killings, such as the Aug.5, 2000 shooting of Clallam County Sheriff’s Deputy Wally Davis to the creation of Olympic National Park.
The park was established with the key backing of Charles Webster, publisher of the Port Angeles Evening News — predecessor to Peninsula Daily News — who penned an editorial to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937, a year before the park was created.
It’s an industry that covered the Makah Tribe’s 2001 whale hunt, which received national media attention, as well as accounts of pre-fame and 20-something Jack London, then a gold prospector, spending a night in a Port Townsend jail.
“It has history, it has anecdotes, it has historical events, it has tragedy, it has all of that, in the involvement of the writing, from a media standpoint, from reporters talking about various events,” Lindstrom said.
“Anyone can pick up this book and enjoy it.
“It’s not just about the media.
“It has the history of every single city on the Peninsula.”
In his book, Lindstrom names 84 publications in communities including Port Angeles, Sequim, Forks, Port Townsend — many of which, including Peninsula Daily News, weekly Sequim Gazette, and The (Port Townsend) Leader, have gone through name changes, and many of which have died.
He also lists nine radio stations in both counties and three public-access TV stations that have lit up and filled the North Olympic Peninsula’s homes, bringing news and entertainment to — by big-city standards — isolated communities.
The book also includes account of the link between newspapers and broadcast journalism, such as Charles Webster starting what is now Newsradio KONP 1450 AM, now owned in part by Maloney, in 1945.
Lindstrom talks of a time when families owned newspapers, citing the Websters, who owned iterations of Peninsula Daily News for 55 years; the McCurdy family, who owned the Leader for 61 years; and Vesta Hay, an owner of the Gazette from 1916-1949.
He interviewed David Black, founder and owner of Black Press, the Canadian company that owns an American subsidiary, Sound Publishing, which owns several Pacific Northwest newspapers including Peninsula Daily News, the Forks Forum and Sequim Gazette.
“He still thinks print journalism will be the Number 1 priority for Sound,” Lindstrom said of Black.
Brewer, on the other hand, focuses on the power of the Internet and its negative impact on print journalism, Lindstrom said.
Lindstrom noted The Leader, when published by Scott Wilson, was the first newspaper in Washington state that could be read on the Internet, beating the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which no longer has a print edition, in the race for an online platform.
Maloney said he commissioned the book fearful that in another decade, a book of this kind could not be written.
When a writer pens a story on media in a region “it’s only fair to cover a lot of history as it happens during that time as well,” he said.
“It’s an immense book,” Brewer said Wednesday.
“It has a wealth of really captivating, rescued-from-obscurity stories that I think will delight readers.”
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].
Gottlieb, who has worked at the PDN for 20 years, was among the staffers interviewed by Lindstrom for this book.