KEMMERER — “I love the different environment of Wyoming and Kemmerer. It is really pretty, and here we see red dirt instead of the black and brown dirt of Washington. My fiancé, Jacob Nelson, and I are anxious to try hiking and camping.”
As of last week, Mysti Willmon is the new editor for the Kemmerer Gazette. Willmon has bachelor’s degrees in Journalism News/Editorial and English Creative Writing from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. She graduated June 13, 2020, and was excited to be hired soon after graduating. She said she took a chance in applying online for the Kemmerer editor’s position and was pleasantly surprised when she was offered the job.
“I’ve had an interesting journey that has led to newspaper work. When I first started college, I was going to get a literature degree and thought I would like to work in the publishing business as I am an avid reader. I own 300 books and I usually read 40 to 50 books a year. But I discovered I loved writing just as much as reading. I have been editing friends’ papers since the 8th grade and loved doing it. I started taking journalism classes and loved them, so I chose to change my degree plan,” Willmon said.
Willmon was born and raised on a small acreage eight miles outside of Port Townsend, Washington which she describes as a Victorian sea town. With a population of 9,000 the town is on an peninsula on the Salish Sea and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Within a 100 mile radius of Port Townsend there are approximately 20 Native American tribes.
Willmon went to kindergarten and all 12 years of school with most of the same 75 students who graduated together. She stated that she is proud to be the third generation of her family to graduate from Port Townsend High School.
On her first day at work, Willmon said she put all of the contact names and phone numbers that were left for her by the previous editor on a spread sheet. She plans to visit and introduce herself to the local businesses, council members, and commissioners. Willmon will spend part of her time covering local news and describes her job as essentially a “one-woman show” though there is a part-time reporter in Kemmerer and also one in Cokeville. In her spare time, if she has any, she has two cats she loves to spoil and she enjoys crocheting and beadwork.
“I am excited to be working for a local paper. I don’t think newspapers will ever disappear but they will change and adapt. I am happy to be here and feel lucky to have secured employment so soon after graduation,” Willmon said.