New editor comes to Whidbey News-Times

New editor joins News-Times

The editor of The South Whidbey Record for the past 20 years has left the newspaper to join the Whidbey News-Times in Oak Harbor.

Jim Larsen’s last day at The Record was Tuesday. Beginning today, Oct. 24, he is editor of the Whidbey News-Times.

Larsen said he made the move due to changes in his own life. He and his wife, Patricia, raised three daughters on South Whidbey, with the youngest leaving for college this fall. In addition, his wife teaches at Oak Harbor Christian School, so the job change made sense.

“South Whidbey was a great place to raise children, but now I’m ready for a new challenge,” said the 53-year-old Larsen. The Whidbey News-Times has a paid circulation of over 8,100, compared to The Record’s 5,500. Both newspapers are owned by Sound Publishing.

Larsen also held the title of publisher of The South Whidbey Record. That title now goes to Melissa Saylors, who for the past several years has been general manager.

Saylors said it is undecided who will replace Larsen. “We’re still looking for the best person possible,” she said.

Larsen said his approach to community journalism won’t change in Oak Harbor. “People everywhere want to read as much as they can about their own community,” he said. “My job is simply to give them what they want.”

Marcia Van Dyke, publisher of the Whidbey News-Times, welcomed Larsen aboard. “He’s got tremendous experience and he already knows Whidbey Island,” she said. “We’re pleased he decided to come to Oak Harbor.”

Larsen has had a long relationship with the News-Times. He was hired for the South Whidbey position by Wallie Funk, who with the late John Webber owned both papers for more than two decades. They sold the papers to Sound Publishing in 1989.

“I’ve worked with every editor and publisher at the News-Times for years, and most of the reporters,” Larsen said. “Oak Harbor is distinctly different than South Whidbey, but I feel comfortable moving there because I know so many people in the area. I’m anxious to get to work.”

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