West Seattle Blog: Contributor Stephanie Chacharon

By JohnBarnes

My first Stand-up Paddleboard (SUP) experience was not easy. The wind was strong from the north West Seattle Blog, waves were crashing into the beach and the sun was setting behind the peninsula. It was just below 60 degrees.

The group that gathered at Seacrest Boathouse was excited for Alki Kayak Tours second Tuesday Night SUP’r. Shoshannah Moxley, Alki Kayak Tours’ SUP instructor (who also works at La Rustica) guided me. I was given a long, wide, stable paddleboard by her. It’s perfect for beginners, women, and kids.

West Seattle Blog was founded in 2005 by Tracy Record and Patrick Sand. The city is well-known for its constant rain. Quantcast reports that the blog now has more than 80,000 visits per month and is frequently cited in news stories by The Seattle Times. It was founded in 2005 as a hobby by Tracy Record and Patrick Sand. Record claims that she was “drafted” to provide coverage by going street-by-street to locate utility crews and posting information to the blog. This happened during a strong windstorm that shut down power to the West Seattle Blog peninsula in December 2006. The blog was revived two years later when the region was hit by a rare snowstorm. It became a hub for news, updates, and crowdsourcing.

Both events resulted in huge traffic spikes. These trends continue into the new year thanks to dedicated breaking news coverage. Record doesn’t hesitate to claim victory. “We intend to continue to be West Seattle’s most-read, most-accurate, most-thorough, most-timely, most-community-collaborative 24-7 news source for a long time,” she says. “That’s how news was made, listening to people and responding to their needs.

Record, a former producer at ABCNews.com as well as an assistant news director for Seattle’s KCPQ TV, is no stranger in the news business. Sand, who was a journalist and has been selling advertising for years, is not a stranger to the news business. Both of them started working full-time at the site in 2007. Sand was already working remotely on freelance projects. Record quit her job at KCPQ. Record claims that the site now brings in six-figures in revenue.

Sand uses past experience to sell the ads. They are almost entirely banner ads and run on the right side of the website’s homepage. Record states that there is only one type of advertising available. It’s the same type we started with. “Good old-fashioned, flat-rate display advertising.” Sand and Record are the site’s only full-time employees. Record states by email that it is the only source of revenue. “No investors, no grants, no rich relatives/friends, no side jobs.”

Sand, although he says he doesn’t speak publicly about the site. However, a lot of reporting is done on-the-scene by Sand. Record does the majority of the writing. This, like many hyperlocal sites can change in tone, from that of a straight-laced reporter, to that of a friendly neighbor. Some are traffic updates and others are more serious like coverage of a February crime.

The West Seattle Blog is Mainly

Located on a peninsula southwest of downtown Seattle. This area is known for its natural beauty and relative wealth. Record has found the area to be a fertile ground, often reaching out to news organizations before they do. An August 27 fire is an example. She says that she was not far from the scene and had all my equipment. “I ran to the scene and began publishing updates/photos/video using my laptop. The crowd was still there, but firefighters weren’t able to clear it out because they were having water problems and had plenty to do.” I had to place the “bureau” on top of a recycle bin that was behind the burning house.

Record said that Sand and she hope to grow their social media presence further in the future while still attracting more visitors to the website. Record states that the West Seattle Blog has over 11,000 followers on Twitter and that they have been active on Facebook since 2007. The fact that neither Sand nor Record are Seattle natives has never been a problem when it comes to reporting on Seattle’s news. She says that she felt the urge to write about our neighborhood in late 2005 after having lived here for 15 years. “To my surprise, no such place existed. So I searched for westseattleblog.com and put up a basic WordPress theme. Then, I just got started.