With commentary by Dave Mitchell, The Light On the Coast: 65 Years of News Big and Small as Reported in the Point Reyes Light ($29.95) encapsulates a weekly newspaper’s first 65 years of unpredictable reporting from the small towns along the Marin County coast.
At times, The Point Reyes Light — or The Baywood Press as it was known for 18 years — changed the course of public affairs by exposing private wrongdoing and official misconduct. A Light exposé and editorial crusade won the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service. Only a handful of weeklies have ever won a Pulitzer in any category.
On other occasions, even the newspaper’s bovine coverage has made readers chuckle, what with bulls stopping traffic by fighting on Highway 1 in the Olema Valley, a firefighter having to get a cow down from a tree in Hicks Valley, and dairy cows stampeding late at night through downtown Point Reyes Station.
This work features, along with a variety of news and commentary, a sampling of cartoons, advertising, and photography. The authors reviewed more than 3,380 past issues of The Light in compiling the book and wrote explanatory narratives for many of their selections.
David Mitchell is editor and publisher emeritus of The Point Reyes Light. Mitchell retired in November 2005 after 35 years of newspapering, 27 of those at The Light. During his newspaper career, he also worked for the old San Francisco Examiner, Sonora’s Daily Union Democrat in the Sierra Nevada, and Council Bluff’s daily newspaper, The Nonpareil. In addition, he edited the weekly Sebastopol Times. Mitchell holds a Master’s Degree in Communications and a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Stanford University. He is 70 and lives in Point Reyes Station.