Big changes are afoot at Cascadia Daily News in 2024, and as you may have heard, the Living section is no exception. Allow me to introduce myself: My name is Cocoa Laney, and I’ll be continuing Amy Kepferle’s work as your new lifestyle reporter/editor.
My predecessor set a high bar, so I’m approaching this role with a healthy mix of curiosity, excitement and respect for her work. I’m also showing up with new ideas for the Living section — but before we dive into that, let’s get to know each other.
My freelance photography background led me to photojournalism and, eventually, lifestyle journalism. Over the past decade, I’ve written and/or photographed stories on everything from women’s issues in Alabama to vaccine equity in Ghana, knife crime in London and migration in Italy. That said, folks in Bellingham may know me as the former editor of Bellingham Alive! Magazine.
Working at a lifestyle magazine requires doing a bit of everything: interviewing artists, profiling local businesses, photographing the occasional cocktail, the list goes on. Yes, this brand of journalism is (mostly) as fun as it sounds. Most importantly, though, my time at Bellingham Alive! gave me a window into the people and places that give this city its character.
Bellingham offers two things I deeply value: a strong sense of community and a vibrant cultural landscape.
Despite recent growth (and the resulting challenges), this city is still small enough to feel intimate. I’ve managed to befriend my neighbors, mailman, yoga teacher and a small legion of baristas in just three years of living downtown.
While we’re no bustling metropolis, I’d argue that Bellingham isn’t as subdued as it claims. The longer I live here, the more intrigued I am by the stories, surprises and characters hidden in plain sight. Those looking for excitement only need to know where to look — and, although I may be biased, I believe CDN readers are looking in the right place.
All of this brings me back to our plans for the Living section. First and foremost, I aim to continue producing the reliable, timely arts and entertainment coverage our readers have come to rely on. Moreover, I see opportunities to celebrate Bellingham’s distinctive character while also contextualizing it within the broad cultural landscape.
Readers can also expect additional coverage of topics such as food and drink, home and garden, travel, fashion, and local businesses. CDN’s digital platform also gives us a wealth of multimedia options, so with the guidance of our visual journalism team, I hope to experiment with different storytelling formats.
Ultimately, I envision the Living section to be a space that informs, entertains and offers new insights to longtime residents and newcomers alike. I know I have big shoes to fill in the wake of Amy’s departure. However, I do think I can offer a fresh eye for local storytelling.
Do you have thoughts or suggestions for the Living section in 2024? I’d love to hear them — you can reach me at email@example.com. Stay tuned for a new year filled with culture, community and all the things that make Bellingham weird and wonderful.