Whatcom News was first envisioned and created to serve as a hub of information about Ferndale and its business community named DiscoverFerndale.com in an effort to create increased awareness and support of local business offerings.
But the market quickly reacted and showed they were more interested in near real-time news stories about situations and decisions that impact day-to-day life. For instance, stories about what caused a traffic jam, what all the sirens were about and severe weather forecasts immediately drew huge numbers of visitors to the website.
As a marketer, the founder of Discover Ferndale, Joe Beaulaurier, knew to listen to the market and go the direction they wanted. As a result, the website was redesigned to be the primary news source for people who live, work and visit Ferndale and the immediate surrounding area. The name Discover Ferndale was a bit of a misnomer after this change and was eventually corrected to My Ferndale News years later.
My Ferndale News saw readership nearly double year-over-year. Readers from other parts of Whatcom County began asking for news coverage for stories happening outside of Ferndale. In 2021, the website was, again, renamed to Whatcom News and its focus expanded to better serve readers and advertisers across Whatcom County while continuing to provide readers free access to community news.
Whatcom News is not affiliated with any local government, school district, first responder or law enforcement agency but has developed solid relationships with all to better communicate their messaging as well as request information needed to inform the community about critical issues and emergency situations.
As of the writing of this page, the only staff at Whatcom News, a dba of Whatcom Marketing LLC, is Joe Beaulaurier. Beaulaurier currently researches and writes the stories assisted by occasional citizen volunteers who provide story tips and photos. He also built and maintains the website while constantly testing additional functionality. Advertising sales and support also fall under his purview.
Visit the “Contact Us” page to contact Whatcom News and the “Advertising” page to learn more about how your message can be more effectively delivered to people who live, work and recreate in Ferndale.
Whatcom News story choices and how they are written are guided by some editorial guidelines that could be considered a result of what has caused other news outlets, large and small, to lose their audiences’ confidence and sense of value in their reporting of the news.
Some of these guidelines include
- Report the facts and let the reader connect the dots. Do not insult readers’ intelligence by attempting to do it for them.
- The author’s opinion or personal assessment of a story does not matter at all. Just report the facts. It should be impossible for the reader to determine the author’s opinion or perspective from reading a story.
- Avoid using adjectives whenever possible. This helps avoid the author’s opinion or personal assessment from entering a story.
- Report what people do, not what they say. Many people have a talent for embellishing, deflecting and revising facts and data. As a result, reporting what someone says, unless part of a public record, is usually avoided. That which has been proposed, discussed, approved, filed or has simply happened should always be the focus.
- Do not write about that which does not directly impact or benefit the community. Local people who have achieved celebrity as entertainers are a good example. While successful in their own right, their success usually was accomplished elsewhere with little to no direct benefit for those in the local community.
- Promote local groups and teams over individuals. Community members coming together to achieve or even to simply attempt a positive community accomplishment is something we should all strive to do and is worth shining a light on editorially.
- Private property is to be respected. While reporting a story, permission to enter private property must be expressly granted. Photos published that include private property must be limited to views from public right of ways unless permission has been granted. These include interior and exterior photos.
- Photos that include victims in distress will not be published without their expressed permission.
Readers are challenged to hold Whatcom News to these editorial guidelines and to point out any instances when we have failed.