Mukilteo Beacon - Your Hometown News Source

That's all, folks l Editor's Note


Last updated 11/6/2019 at 1:01pm

I’m usually pretty certain when I write.

I rarely get “writer’s block,” and when I get going, it’s hard to stop.

I don’t really find myself doing rewrites or drastic changes to stories or anything unless it’s a major update, either.

I say all this because I’ve gone back and rewritten this column at least a half dozen times.

Why is this one so hard? Well, this is the last column that I’ll be writing for The Beacon. Today is my last day as editor of the Mukilteo Beacon.

As many of you know, I am a huge sports fan, and sports dominated my life up until I had to stop playing baseball after my sophomore year of college. I stayed involved, however, coaching ball for three years and, as I have done my whole life, I read, watched, and breathed sports in whatever free time I had.

If you talk to my parents, they’ll tell you that when I came home from school as a kid, I wasn’t turning on Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network – I was turning on ESPN to watch SportsCenter highlights.

Part of the reason I decided to pursue journalism as a major and career is because I wanted to write and talk about sports for a living.

Well, that dream has come true. I’ve accepted the position of digital content producer for 710 ESPN Seattle. I interned at the station my senior year at the University of Washington, so it’s the perfect next step for me in my professional career, and I’m really excited to get going and see what happens.

But I’m not here to talk about my new gig. I’m here to talk about my experience here at The Beacon.

I’ve written about it before, and if you’ve talked to me you know this already, but I’m a Mukilteo local. I was born in Everett and lived in Mukilteo from when I was a wee lad in diapers until 2015, when I moved to Picnic Point for a bit, which, we all know, is basically Mukilteo. After about a year there, I moved into an apartment with two of my best friends. Where was that apartment? That’s right – Mukilteo.

I graduated from UW in June 2017 with a degree in journalism while living in my Harbour Pointe apartment. Soon after, I quit my old job working at a restaurant to make a few extra bucks working in construction until I found a job in journalism.

Ironically, I moved to Mill Creek in September 2017, and a few weeks later I got hired at The Beacon. Strange.

But anyway, my childhood home is on Sixth Street off Loveland Avenue, about a block and a half away from The Beacon’s office in Old Town.

I graduated from Kamiak High School in 2013, and before that I attended Olympic View Middle School and Mukilteo Elementary.

I grew up reading The Beacon. I made it in print a few times for baseball and for making UW’s dean’s list, but admittedly, I was also in the Police Beat on more than one occasion. (Sorry, Mom and Dad. It wasn’t for anything too serious.)

When I applied here, I was working for a drywall company in Ballard. I started work at either 3:30 or 4:30 a.m. and was delivering drywall and other construction materials to different job sites in the greater-Seattle area. The pay was good, the hours sucked, and my back and knees took a pounding. Needless to say, I wasn’t super happy.

I’d graduated from UW just a few months before that and I was looking for a new job really anywhere, but a gig in journalism was the main goal, if possible.

I saw there was an opening for the Mukilteo Beacon’s editor position and I applied right away. I figured if I couldn’t get hired in a town I knew all about, I may be out of luck.

I turned in my resume and clips on a Monday, heard back from them on a Tuesday, and came in for my interview that Wednesday.

I interviewed with Paul Archipley, The Beacon’s publisher, and he told me he would call me early the following week. So there I was, playing video games on a Saturday afternoon when I look at my phone and see a missed call with a voicemail. It was Paul, who told me to call him back as soon as I had the time.

I called back right away and after some brief small talk, Paul told me, “the reason I called is,” and then the line went dead.

After a few awkward seconds where all I could hear and feel was my heart beating out of my chest, he asked if I was still there. I told him I was. He asked me if I heard what he said. I told him the line must have cut out (the service at my apartment is awful. Damn you, Sprint!) He laughed and said, “Well, I offered you the job, and I thought you were speechless.” I started nine days later on Oct. 9, 2017.

I was thrust into a very busy and contentious election season. It was a little sink or swim, which I actually appreciated. I had to see if I could handle it, and I made it through OK.

I’ve had the chance to write some really cool and fun stories while working here, as well as some really important ones regarding local crimes and the City’s government. I’ve met some awesome people who have lived in town for a long time and have left quite an impact.

I’ve also gotten to know some really awesome people who I’ve worked with day in and day out.

Brian Soergel is the editor of the Edmonds Beacon and David Pan is our sports editor for all three Beacon newspapers. I want to thank the two of them for their camaraderie and their help over the last two years. They’ve been great to talk to about writing and what’s going on in the community, and I’ll miss chatting with them about all the weird stuff that’s going on. The next time you guys get King’s Teriyaki, think of me. And also, get a large Number 6.

Debbie Magill is The Beacon’s graphic artist and lays out our paper. I’ll miss talking sports, politics, movies, and music with her. Hopefully we run into each other at a future Lord Huron concert! It’s been great working with her these last two years, and she’s really helped with my eye in photography and layout. I know she frequents the 710 site, so hopefully she leaves me some nice comments.

Jenn Barker is the Beacon’s general manager, and I’ve had the chance to work with some awesome people in our sales department, including Martine Grube, Doug Kimball, Joy Baudart, and Jim Pompeo. I want to thank them because they do all the behind-the-scenes stuff that allows us in editorial to do our work. Without them, there’s no paper. It can be a hard and thankless role, but they’ve all handled it well.

As mentioned, Paul Archipley is The Beacon’s publisher and has been my boss and mentor over the last two years. He took a shot on me when no one else would, and has helped me tremendously with my writing and news sense over these last two years. He didn’t need to hire a then-22-year-old kid with no major professional journalism experience, but he did, and I feel like it worked out well for the both of us. It’s been an honor working for him.

So, to all you fine Mukilteo citizens and Beacon subscribers, thanks for reading my work over these last two years. It’s awesome to see a community that cares so much about its local newspaper. Continue to support The Beacon. There’s an amazing group of people working to provide you all with the need-to-know information you deserve, and they can’t do that without your continued support.

Getting to start my professional career in my hometown less than two blocks from my childhood home has been an amazing experience.

For those of you who still like me, I’ll be around. My parents wouldn’t let me stray too far away even if I wanted to.

Plus, the Lighthouse Festival is only 10 months away!

Author Bio

Brandon Gustafson, Editor, Mukilteo Beacon

Brandon Gustafson was named editor of the Mukilteo Beacon in October, 2017. Born and raised in Mukilteo, Brandon attended Mukilteo Elementary, Olympic View Middle School, and Kamiak High School, graduating in 2013. After high school, Brandon attended Shoreline Community College, earning his associate's degree while playing for the school's baseball team. He then transferred to the University of Washington, where he graduated in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in communications-journalism.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 425-347-5634
Twitter: @MukBeaconBPG


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