The End of an Online Era || Changes at Whidbey Life Magazine

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Tom Lindsay blowing bubbles at Langley Marina at sunrise. (Photo by David Welton)

After five years of continuous publication, Whidbey Life Magazine will no longer publish weekly articles to its website and will cease the distribution of its weekly newsletter.

Those familiar with the evolution of Whidbey Life Magazine (WLM) know that it began in 2013 as an online magazine focused on the arts. In 2014, publisher Sue Taves broadened the scope to portray Whidbey Island in all its glorious diversity, volunteering countless hours to publish new content every week. That year, with the help of  Claire Moore as graphic designer and Dianna MacLeod as editor, Taves published the first print edition of WLM, a 38-page glossy that featured stories about the people, places, and products of Whidbey Island. That first issue was followed by five more, the largest of which totaled 68 pages. 

Near the end of 2016, Taves—in anticipation of her eventual retirement—asked Petra Martin to edit the free online magazine and asked Deborah Nedelman to assume the role of publisher and editor-in-chief. Moore and MacLeod remained focused on the biannual print editions.

When Taves officially retired in January, Moore and MacLeod joined with Nedelman and Martin to form Whidbey Life Media. Together, they produced a seventh print magazine and continued to offer readers fresh features online.

As architects of the online and print publications, the team set its sights on two goals: 1) maintaining high journalistic/graphic standards, and 2) compensating writers, editors, and eventually photographers for their time and talents.

Nine months later, the members of Whidbey Life Media have concluded that these goals—high standards and fair compensation—cannot be achieved for both publications. WLM has not been able to generate sufficient advertising income to sustain its online magazine. In light of these publishing realities, the team has recognized the need to consolidate roles, simplify operations, and suspend the online magazine in its present form.

Martin and Nedelman will both step down, while Moore and MacLeod will continue to publish the print magazine. A Fall/Winter issue is currently in production and will be available in October, both by subscription and in retail outlets across the island. Planning for a Spring/Summer 2018 issue is underway. At whidbeylifemagazine.org, readers will continue to have access to the archived stories published online over the last five years, some stories from past print issues, and the occasional new story, all 100 percent home-grown and locally sourced.

We’re honored to have played a part, week in and week out, in uniting our community through stories and images. We’re inspired by the writers and photographers who sought out and brought forth stories and by the bloggers who shared their thoughts and opened their hearts. We are especially grateful to donors, sponsors, advertisers, and readers for their enthusiasm for our online platform.

Thanks to all who put the “Life” in Whidbey Life Magazine online.


Petra Martin, Managing Editor of Whidbey Life Magazine Online, Signs Off

You know that scene in the Wizard of Oz, in which Toto pulls back a curtain and reveals the little man behind the great and powerful Oz? That’s how I’ve felt since October of 2016, projecting stories and newsletters onto the screen of your computer or device. In my case, the great and powerful ones that I projected were the writers and photographers who demonstrated over and over that there’s no place like home here on Whidbey Island.

I’ve lived on Whidbey since 2001 and didn’t think I could love it more. But with each story I’ve edited over the past 10 months, I’ve fallen more deeply in love with this magical place, and I honestly didn’t think that was possible.

My German mother often repeated this saying: “Geteiltes Leid ist halbes Leid – geteilte Freude ist doppelte Freude.” Shared sorrow is half the sorrow, shared joy is double the joy. The sorrow I must share with you is that the online magazine and newsletter ceased publication on August 31. (More about what that means follows.)

The joy I share is the time we’ve spent together. Bringing these stories to you has doubled my delight in Whidbey Island and in my fellow islanders. I can’t thank you enough for that.

Aufwiedersehen,

Petra Martin
Former Managing Editor
Whidbey Life Magazine Online


Deborah Nedelman, Editor-in-Chief of Whidbey Life Magazine, Bids a Fond Farewell

Whidbey Life Magazine is a beautiful gift to our community. It celebrates our island in a way that nothing else does. I have loved being part of this platform for local writers and photographers to tell the many fascinating stories of this place and our people.

When I began my tenure with the magazine, I knew what a gem this enterprise was, but I was a bit naïve about the realities of publishing today. We’ve done our best, as a team, to keep our online magazine alive and full of content that informs, surprises, and motivates. Petra has pulled many a rabbit out of a hat to maintain and improve a website that had grown somewhat haphazardly over the years. Our team of writers, bloggers, and photographers have consistently given us stories we’ve been proud to publish. We all have held on to hope that we might find a way to make this whole enterprise financially sustainable, but we have been forced to acknowledge that, for the time being at least, producing a weekly online magazine of the caliber we have been is simply not financially possible, nor is it cost effective for me to continue in the role of editor-in-chief. By concentrating our resources on the print magazine, we are optimistic about preserving Whidbey Life Magazine into the future.

It’s been an intense journey over the last nine months, and I am grateful to every one of you, to all our talented writers and photographers, to the amazing staff at Whidbey Life Media, and to the generous folks who have provided financial support. The creativity and energetic spirit of this community deserves to be celebrated and Whidbey Life Magazine plans to continue to do so. Keep an eye out for the Fall/Winter issue coming up – it’s going to be another winner!

All my best,

Former Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
Whidbey Life Magazine

Questions and Answers

Q: Will the whidbeylifemagazine.org website come down?

A: No. You’ll still be able to find all the stories we’ve published in the past, but no new content will be posted. Use the Search box in the upper right corner to find published stories.

Q: Will I still be able to post events to the calendar?

A: No. The calendar will no longer be maintained and will therefore go offline.

Q: Will I still be able to submit community news articles?

A: No. That will no longer be possible.

Q: Will I still get a newsletter?

A: No. The newsletter was simply a summary of the new stories that were posted online that week. Because there will be no new stories, there will also be no more newsletter.

Q: Will the print magazine continue?

A: Yes. The Fall/Winter issue is in the works now.


Roll Credits

Although many writers, photographers, and illustrators contributed to Whidbey Life Magazine online over the years, I (Petra) cannot adequately express how grateful I am to the ones with whom I’ve had the deep privilege of working directly and through whom I’ve met interesting people, learned new things, and seen Whidbey Island in entirely different ways. You can continue to enjoy their archived stories by typing their names into the Search box in the upper right corner of this page.

Writers

  • Cameron Castle
  • Christy Korrow
  • Deb Crager
  • Deborah Nedelman
  • Dianna MacLeod
  • Jenny Goff
  • Kate Poss
  • Leckey Harrison
  • Lis David
  • Marian Blue
  • Mark Forman
  • Patrick Craig
  • Robert Waterman
  • Shawn Berit
  • Tom Trimbath
  • Wendy Jones
  • William Walker

Bloggers

  • Anne Belov
  • Erik Christensen
  • Harry Anderson
  • Holly Chadwick
  • Joni Takanikos
  • Judith Walcutt
  • Stephanie Barbé Hammer
  • Suzanne Kelman

Photographers

  • David Stern
  • David Welton
  • Don Wodjenski
  • Jeff Jackson
  • Kyle Richardson
  • Marsha Morgan
  • Susan Scott

Guests

  • Chris Spencer
  • Jess Dowdell
  • Tom Fisher
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Comments

  1. Thank you Deborah and Petra, for all your hard work the last few years.

    I was really grateful for the publicity you gave to my “Schools of Thought” One Act play at WICA this summer, through Kate Poss’ article in WLM online.

    The good news is that I am sure our paths will still cross in many ways, in other writing endeavors and through other activities on our cherished Whidbey Island.

    Thanks, thanks, and many thanks!

  2. Dear Petra and Deborah, I want to thank you for the great work that you put into making the online magazine a wonderful place to explore our way of life on Whidbey Island. I will miss my weekly deadlines and hope that another rabbit can be pulled out of the hat so that those of us who love writing with Whidbey Life Magazine can continue adding to the magic that weaves its way around our island. Thank you so much. Miss Kate

  3. Kudos to Petra and Deborah for a great online publication! I am sorry to see it go, but plan to subscribe for the print magazine (instead of picking it up at the Chamber office).
    I have enjoyed so many of your articles, especially the ones about Ebey’s Landing and Harry’s article about the Penn Cove Water Festival (both very dear to me & where I spend my volunteer time).
    I’m wondering if either, or both of you, would be interested in joining the PCWF Team. We really need a Secretary, or a Publicity Lead. If so – please contact me through email at: penncovewaterfestival@gmail.con.
    Wishing you the best in your future endeavors,
    Vicky

  4. What a great job you have done Petra and Deborah over the past 10 months! And muchas gracias to Sue Taves for her vision and tenacity to forge ahead and get the ball rolling over 5 years ago!

  5. Thank you for making me feel part of this wonderful community. Your creative energy brought out the best of all of the featured souls. It was so worthwhile all around.

  6. Dear Petra, so sorry online is coming to an end. Here’s what I posted on my Facebook Page, along with the article describing the end of online:

    Whidbey Life Online has been WONDERFUL! Thanks to the Petra and the rest of the staff and sponsors for making it a quality endeavor to this point.

    This is a VERY SAD TIME. I have looked forward to and read every issue; this is one time I have an unselfish reason for wishing to be a millionaire–I’d offer the support you need to keep this very worthy endeavor moving along online.

    Looking forward to the print version; it never will be as helpful to the island as the online version. My best to each of you… KJC

  7. Thank you so much for all your hard work and effort. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the articles online. It’s so much easier than a magazine. I have stacks of old magazines and not buying them is a help. I am truly sad to see this end.

  8. Deeply sorry to see this insightful and joyful spotlight on Whidbey Island cease shining. You’ve put in a lot of dedicated work, and many have benefited. I’m delighted to have been a small part of WLM online. Great people and great energy! I’m glad the print publication is continuing, and I wish it well.

  9. I just wanted to say thank you for including in the online magazine , it was a real honor. I have really enjoyed all of the articles. I wish you all the best. Deborah

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