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Thank you, Alameda

Submitted by on 1, April 29, 2011 – 6:00 am66 Comments

This morning I have a difficult announcement to make: After more than three years of being your daily local news source, The Island is shutting its doors.

Why? Simply put, the site become too successful for my own good. From our humble beginnings as a blog that covered civic affairs on occasion that was read by a handful of people, we have grown into an independent, daily news source that offers breaking, feature and in-depth news stories, sports, real estate listings, events and more for an audience that this past month included more than 16,000 of you. As it turns out, managing all of that – three to five stories a day, calendar and real estate listings, advertising and more – ended up being more than one person could handle, even with the support of the amazing writers, editors and photographers who have chosen to offer their talents here.

Today, I want to offer my thanks to everyone who has supported The Island over these last few years, and for the amazing run we have had. I am extraordinarily grateful to everyone who read what we had to offer, and especially to those of you who supported our efforts by subscribing and advertising.

I am grateful for all of your comments and ideas, grateful to everyone who wrote for the site, grateful for all the lessons I have learned about what people truly desire from their local media. I am grateful for the opportunity to tell the story of Alameda, and for all of the truly amazing people I have met.

I’ve learned a lot about the place where I live (and the place I love), and about what kind of service people need their local media provide. These are lessons I will carry with me, for everything I do from here on out.

In the meantime, I look forward to spending more time in the community I’ve been talking about all these years (hello, Bladium!), and to finding new ways to help us thrive. I’m happy to answer your questions and to hear what you have to say. Feel free to drop me a comment or e-mail me, at michele@theislandofalameda. In the meantime I want to thank you, Alameda, for an amazing ride.


  • Thank you for you have done Michele.

  • Vicki Sedlack says:

    The Island will be missed! Thank you, Michele, for everything!!

  • juelle Ann Boyer says:

    Thanks to YOU for your insights, facts and inspiration.
    Our community will be the poorer without your daily stories.
    Wish you well.

  • Dan Wood says:

    Michele, thank you for a wonderful run. We will be sorry to see you end things. But glad to see you’re still part of the community.

    As somebody who tries to do blogging, I appreciated how much time and energy it can take up. (The thought of having daily activity like yours is absolutely astonishing!)

  • Ron Mooney says:

    Thank you so much for your hard work and reporting. We will certainly miss your writing and site. Best to you, and your family, as you make this transition.
    See you soon! Ron

  • Rosemary says:


    You’ve done some excellent reporting, which Alameda needs.

    I’m glad to hear that we’ll continue to see you out and about participating in activities in this little village of ours.

    I hope you’ll continue writing for other publications.

    Thank you.

  • Lauren Do says:

    While I’m not going to talk about you like you’re going away forever because I know you’ll still be around. I want to add my grateful thanks to the chorus and say that Alameda news reporting will definitely be a sadder and emptier place without you around.

    Thank you for all you have done and while a comeback seems like a distant possibility right now as you are saying goodbye, Green Day is a great model of coming back bigger and better.

  • SteveG says:

    Best wishes from the west end.

  • Robert Sullwold says:

    A long time ago, people watched Huntley & Brinkley over dinner to get the news. For the last year or so, I’ve gotten into the habit of reading Michele Ellson and Lauren Do with my morning coffee for the same purpose.
    The phrase “fair and balanced” became a term of derision after FoxNews began to use it as a slogan, but it truly describes The Island. On issues I knew something about, Michele always got the story right. On issues I knew nothing about, she always provided the relevant facts. Her recent series on the pension situation was a stellar example of analytical reporting.
    Let’s hope that, whatever she chooses to do next, we haven’t read the last from Michele Ellson.

  • Mark Irons says:


    Hopefully you will still find time to do work for some of the print media on important issues. Your series on pensions was unparalleled in local media and now that we have grown accustomed to The Island there is going to be a void. Enjoy spending more time with your family. Unlike most politicians who use that as an excuse, we know you mean it.

  • Susan Davis says:

    Best of luck in the next phase of your career, Michele. Your reporting will definitely be missed.

  • david burton says:

    Thank you, Michele, for three years of great reporting. Your stories have been among the best reporting of the goings on about town and we will miss your voice terribly. Your reporting shoes will be very difficult to fill.

    I look forward your continued involvement in the community, whatever you decide to do. Best of luck!!

  • Annette says:

    Well, I guess I’ll have to go back to watching internet porn.

    Seriously, Michele.

    Thanks for bringing us together and for keeping us informed.

    You rock!

  • Karen Bey says:


    Thank you for your wonderful years of great reporting. You and the Island will be missed. Best wishes to you and your family!

  • Jack B. says:

    Here’s to more concerts and less council meetings! woot!!!

  • fergus jones says:

    The accuracy of the information that you research and share for this site will be sorely missed. Thanks for all the work you have done in the last three plus years.

  • Kristen says:

    Sad to hear this, as there’s no other site like it for Alameda. I had high hopes for Patch when it started but it’s mostly about “lifestyle” issues now (I guess the corporate parent, AOL, doesn’t care about much other than advertising revenue??) so The Island was where I turned for local news. But good luck to you in your future endeavors, Michelle.

  • J.E.A. says:

    NO NO NO! I don’t know you but I get up every weekday morning, have a cup of tea and read The Island. What am I suppose to do now?

  • nancy vi says:

    your site will be missed! you did some real ground-breaking coverage. now you can have some time to enjoy yourself….take care and thanks for sharing your spirit with us!

  • Lillian says:

    this sucks!

    I’ve come to really like the Island, Michele, you had great local articles and I always came on here daily to see what’s up in Alameda today or yesterday.

    This site will sorely be missed by me! Thank you for making the Island, I’ve enjoyed reading it for the past year.

  • Jon Spangler says:

    Thank you, Michelle, for producing the most dependable and thorough news stories in Alameda for three years. You set a high standard and your accurate, fair stories will be deeply missed. I hope that others will fill the huge gap your absence will create.

    I wish you all the best as you regain some balance in your life after devoting so many waking hours every day to covering our island community.

    Gratefully yours,


  • Michele,

    You have provided a wonderful service with The Island and I have much respect for the integrity and thoughtfulness of your reporting.

    It has been a pleasure to work with you, I wish you and your family the very best.

    WABA looks forward to your continued participation in the community.

  • Lucinda says:

    Facts, breaking news, digging, strong writing without framing stories. This is becoming a rarity and with this site leaving, it’s another loss. The Island was the online place for real Alameda news. Good for you for what you did. Will miss it much, but am happy for you.

  • Jon Pecson says:

    Thank you Michelle for all of your contributions to the community of Alameda. You have been a wonderful asset and we all appreciate the time and effort that you put into this venture.

    A special thanks for all the support and coverage that you have given to Alameda Youth Sports and the children of alameda.

  • Sharon Alva says:

    I’m torn.

    On the one hand where the heck will I go to get the best researched, best written, most informative Alameda reading? Don’t go!

    On the other hand…you will be rested…hey hey Tuesday at the wine bar. Welcome to the rest of your life.

  • Chris Muir says:

    I’ve enjoyed being one of the 16,000 readers. Thanks.

  • Suzanne says:

    Best. Reporting. Ever.
    Thanks so much

  • Chrissy says:

    Sorry to see you go, have enjoyed the news.

  • Doug Biggs says:

    I want to thank you for the fair, objective and insightful quality of journalism you brought with you. It will be greatly missed. My dog would also like to thank you for the best frisbee ever!

  • notafirealarm says:

    Thank you for your writing and good luck.

  • Valerie says:

    I don’t blame you but BUMMER for us. Who will take up the mantle?

  • Jen Laird says:

    Wow. I am really going to miss the Island. Thank you for your incredible work.

  • Robb Ratto says:


    32 posts to date, I told you so.

    I share the same sentiments as the other posts. YOU WILL BE MISSED. I understand your reasoning and of course wish you well, but as Valerie put it so well; BUMMER!!!!!

    Your objectivity and fair reporting will probably not be equalled on a daily basis anytime soon. Enjoy the extra time with family and take some time for things that are fun for you. Like reporting on the daily happenings in Alameda. O.K. I tried.

    Best wishes and stay in touch.

  • Stephanie says:


    Thank you for all of the time that you have put into The Island. It has been a fabulous news source for Alameda. Your site has always been my first read for city news. Great reporting and a nice mix of stories!

    Best wishes in your future endeavors — and enjoy the island life!

  • alameda says:

    Nooo … this can’t be happening! Sorry to see you go :(

  • Minta Lenaine says:

    I’ll miss you, too, Michelle. Thanks for three years of hard work.

  • Thanks for all the hard work that it took in creating something new. The fact that you as an individual could build a news site to the level it reached is a testament to your abilities and temperament.

  • Herman V says:

    Dang … just after I posted my “island of sanity” comment yesterday. The blogs are full of vitriol (from all sides of the spectrum, unfortunately), Alameda Sun and Journal are not worthy of the paper they are printed on, where does one for thoughtful and incisive local reporting?

    Thanks for all the hard work. Is this a final, final decision or is there some chance we might see you back after a well deserved break? One sure can hope :)

  • Jordan Battani says:

    I can’t tell you how sorry I was to read that you are leaving theislandofalameda – and how relieved that you’re not leaving the Island of Alameda. Your contributions to the community and public discourse through theisland have been thoughtful, thorough, even handed and civilized. That hallmark of civility and evenhandedness has been particularly scarce, and therefore doubly precious
    Thank you.
    It’s also a classy move to refund 2011 subscribers, but since it was my intention to pay the subscription enough times this year to approximate the value I received from your work, may I return the refund, or donate it somewhere that you care about?
    Let me know, neighbor

  • Marilyn Schumacher says:


    I’m bummed. But you are happy and that’s as it should be. Thanks for being such a fine resource.

  • Wayne Dominguez says:

    All the great ones comeback, just make it on your terms.

    For the record she was born in the State of New York.

    XOX Proud to be her neighbor.

    Wayne Dominguez

  • Mary Grace says:

    Dear Michele,

    What will I do without your bite size pieces of Alameda? You made me current and well rounded. I know your decision is made, but the news is still new to me. Please consider the success of your site as measure of your integrity as a journalist. Any chance The Island could be a place for young journalist to cut their teeth?

    Wish you much success.

  • Li_ says:

    “Words cannot express…” articulate, reasoned, grace under pressure. Many thanks.

  • John says:

    “Every author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will.” ~Goethe

    Thanks Michele……You did some fabulous stuff and will truly be missed. You are a huge Asset to this City.

    “Loafing is the most productive part of a writer’s life. ~James Norman Hall”

    Enjoy your break. We all look forward to where you will surface in the media. Good Luck and enjoy the journey.

  • Mike B says:

    Request denied.

    I wish. :)
    It’s been a real pleasure reading your work and getting to know you. I wish you lot’s of luck and prosperity in whatever it is you choose to do.

    Thanks for everything,
    Mike Berkowitz

  • Ani Dimusheva says:

    Michele, you raised the bar on Alameda reporting. Hope it stays high, for whoever fills your spot.

    Maybe you’ll have a well deserved break, and reconsider? The Island is a valuable asset.

  • Thanks for the great site, Michele. I know that your keen reporting and thoughtful coverage will show up somewhere soon in a new, vibrant capacity.

    Can’t wait to see what it is.

    Cheers, from the Cheesemonger….

  • Patrick says:

    Michele, it’s really nice to read all the praise being heaped upon you in the comments. You deserve it! :-)

    I hope you’ll consider eventually reviving theislandofalameda.com as a personal blog — a more relaxed place where you can speak in your own voice on issues, large or small, that occasionally interest and inspire you, with no fixed schedule, expectations, or deadlines.

  • Winkie Campbell-Notar says:


    You truly raised the bar for local news and we all benefited from it. I’ll miss your reporting but hope to see more of you around the neighborhood. Hope you’ll continue contributing to Bay Citizen.


  • Craig Long says:

    I’ll miss you!

  • Ron Salsig says:

    I wrote for the Alameda Times-Star for a long time. We had nine reporters covering Alameda on a daily basis. On June 13, 1996, we were all called into the foyer, and told: “You’re fired.”

    The Times-Star died on that day. The only daily news since then has been The Island on the web. With ONE person doing it. Amazing! And now the last daily news for Alameda dies. April 29, 2011, will also remain a viable date in Alameda.

    The question remains: Without daily coverage, who will keep city council from straying? But one person could never do it like you did.

    Well done! I do not know how you managed to do it.


  • Mike Maurice says:

    Michelle… The ALAMEDA COMMUTERS GOLF thanks you for all your support!

  • Stephen says:

    I’m sorry to see you closing down the site, and I will miss you. Thank you for sharing your writing and journalistic talents with us. Good luck!

  • Maafi Gueye says:

    And one of the recent amazing acts of grace by the amazing Michele was to bring together Lorrie Murray (Washington PTA), Chris Meredith (Nea PTA) and me together for a meeting of the minds and hearts. Michele, only you….

  • Mike Henneberry says:

    Congratulations on a job well done. Good luck with that family and future ventures. Thanks again, see you around!


  • Michele Kuttner says:

    Michele- You know you’ve done something special when it takes this long to scroll through a list of comments. Still, I must add my own “say it isn’t so” to the list. The Island blog is on my bookmark toolbar due to the fact that it is a treasure trove of local news. Your ability to balance a heartfelt understanding of this community with fair and balanced reporting has been simply awesome. I can only hope we will be able to continue to read your stories. All the best from another Michele with one l.

  • Trish Herrera Spencer says:

    “And that’s the way it is.” Kudos to a solid journalist. Thank you for a job well done!

  • Carrie says:

    Congratulations on a job well done and good luck with your future endeavors.

  • I have kept an eye on the Island for a couple of years in addition to the rest of the Bay Area blogging scene and I can truly say Michele is the only newsperson in this area who understands her role in the brave new world of journalism.

    Don’t worry Alameda, the habit of journalism is like a drug. She won’t be gone forever.

    Good luck!

  • Sandip Jariwala says:


    Thanks for the great reporting and specifically on events and issues concerning West Alameda.

    Your site was the best and only source for timely news on anything that happened on the Island.

    Your site will be missed.
    Best Wishes.

  • Laura Rose says:

    We will miss you! No doubt you also need time with your family so in this sense, very happy that you will have more time for that too. I am sorry to hear that there was no way to let it continue with others filling in rather than you stepping down but I am sure you thought of all possibilities. You will be missed as an online news presence for sure.

  • Keith Nealy says:

    Terrible news. My browser will have a blank spot on the tool bar in memoriam. Can you find someone to carry on? Seems like you should sell it for millions!

  • Bill Schaff says:


    You will be sorely missed by many, including me. On the positive side, I look forward to seeing you around the neighborhood more often.

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