Founder’s vision of video news reports now a reality


Clark County Today continues to expand its role as a source for community news

It’s been a while since I’ve shared with you one of my occasional “peek behind the curtain” columns and our work in recent weeks certainly makes this one appropriate.

You may have noticed, without any real fanfare, we’ve recently made an increased effort to fulfill a long-held vision of our owner and founder David Madore. In the business, we refer to it as a “soft launch.’’ We start doing something without a strong formal announcement because we know there will be some bumps in the road along the way. Then, when we navigate those bumps to a place in the process where confidence is high we’re ready to deliver, we make our intention known. That is what I’m doing today concerning our Clark County TODAY News Updates.

Even before David and I formed Clark County Today in the Summer of 2016, and later launched our news website that Fall, it was his passion that residents of Clark County had their own nightly news report. No offense to the fine television stations across the Columbia River in Portland, with whom we collaborate with from time to time on breaking news stories, David wanted you to have your own Clark County-based news report to tune into each evening.

I’m not going to go into a litany of excuses as to why it took us this long to get to the point where I am confident enough to announce to you that we are in the process of fulfilling David’s vision, but we are. I will just say, it’s no easy task for a staff of seven, the majority of whom had little or no experience with video and digital media before coming to Clark County Today.

Thankfully, over recent years, we have been blessed with the additions of some very talented individuals with diverse skill sets. Other members of our staff have really gone above and beyond acquiring new skills and we’ve also been given significant support from the digital news team at US Digital. Each of the seven members of our Clark County Today staff contributes to our evening news updates.

On whatever device you use to access our news updates, you see Chris Brown capably filling the role of host. Many of the stories in our reports, he has also reported on himself. He is also vital in the production of the update. You also see reporters Jacob Granneman and Paul Valencia on the updates, sharing the efforts of their reporting. As many of you recognized by viewing his documentary on the Yacolt Mountain Quarry, Jacob is a very talented filmmaker. Paul is nothing less than a Clark County icon, a local treasure, beloved by the local sports community. His personal approach to covering the achievements of area athletes, coaches and teams is truly unprecedented.

Many of the visuals you see in the updates, both photos and videos, are the work of award-winning photographer Mike Schultz, who has become a skilled videographer as well. You hear the voice of Heidi Wetzler in the updates and she also fills an administrative role in the production and planning of the reports. Andi Schwartz, our graphic designer/webmaster/superhero, only spends morning, noon and night producing every element of the updates, keeping the train on the tracks and getting it to the station on time. Most of you have no idea what a Herculean effort that is for one person, and her creativity and artistic vision are a vital element of what makes our presentation what it is.

Years ago, we started this effort in the form of our Week In Review video, which we shared with you each Friday afternoon or evening (which by the way, is the slowest news moment of the business week because most of you have your attention diverted elsewhere at that time). But, it was all done by design to prepare for weekday Clark County TODAY news updates.

Earlier this year, we moved to Tuesdays and Thursdays and without any announcement, we rebranded the Week in Review as Clark County TODAY. We felt good about what we were doing and felt we were on track to finally achieving our goal. Then, the coronavirus arrived. Hopefully, many of you realize we then switched to a daily (weekdays) COVID-19 update, which Chris hosted as a Facebook live event. About a month ago, when the pandemic news became a little less urgent, we moved back to our efforts to fulfill David’s vision for a daily update.

Those of you who have followed along the past few weeks likely experienced some of our growing pains as we worked out the kinks, which the sharing of this news in this space today reveals our confidence that they are all ironed out. So, here’s what you can expect from us moving forward.

Currently, our staff size and level of efficiency — which is impacted by the fact that we are all working from home during the pandemic — limits us to producing Clark County TODAY updates Tuesday through Friday. It is our intent to add Monday as soon as humanly possible. You can tune in each evening at 6 p.m., which is the initial airing of the updates. They are then available for viewing at your leisure thereafter by accessing them through our website, Facebook or YouTube.

We welcome your feedback. We even welcome your contributions. Over the years, we have been blessed with some great reporting from area citizens in the form of photos, videos and news reports that you have shared with us. We are happy to give you full attribution if we share something of yours. Feel free to email me at ken.v@clarkcountytoday.com if you have something you want me to consider.

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About The Author

Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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