About Us

Who We Are

The Salish Current is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, online local news organization serving Whatcom, San Juan and Skagit counties. Based in Bellingham, we serve 400,000 residents and tens of thousands of annual visitors to the three-county area. Our region is the ancestral home of Native treaty tribes including the Lummi, Nooksack, Samish, Sauk-Suiattle, Stillaguamish, Swinomish and Upper Skagit. It is home to Western Washington University, Northwest Indian College, Whatcom Community College, Skagit Valley College and Bellingham Technical College.


The Salish Current reports local news with independence and strict journalistic integrity, providing fact-based information and a forum for civil commentary on:

  • local government and law enforcement
  • public health issues affecting people, wildlife, land, water and air
  • education, from preschool through higher education
  • agriculture, industry and commerce
  • diversity, equity and inclusion.


 The Salish Current provides information to inform public discussion and decisions on topics such as:

  • balancing population growth and increased commercial and industrial activity with the needs of rich and varied habitats, including farmland
  • meeting the challenges of climate change
  • ensuring justice and fairness for people who are displaced, poor, ill or addicted
  • examining spending on public education, law enforcement, public safety and economic development
  • holding elected officials to account for their actions.

Ethics and Policy

We are guided by and adhere to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics:

  • We seek truth and report it accurately and fairly. We are honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
  • We treat sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public as fellow human beings deserving of respect.
  • We act independently avoiding conflicts of interest, real or perceived, in pursuing our highest and primary obligation to serve the public
  • We stand transparent and accountable to the public, and take responsibility for our work and our decisions.

Our website is accessible to all readers and our lists of donors, board members and staff are open to the public.

Equity and Inclusion

This news organization aims to reflect the diversity of the communities it serves in its staff and contributors, its editorial choices and priorities.


Support for the Salish Current comes from foundations and individual donors, community events, sponsorships and subscribers. Our news reporting is separate from our revenue sources. We do not endorse the values, products or services of any donor.

We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization.

Our news judgments are made independently — not based on or influenced by donors or any revenue source. We do not give supporters the rights to assign, review or edit content.

We make public all revenue sources and donors who give $5,000 or more per year. As a news nonprofit, we avoid accepting charitable donations from anonymous sources, government entities, political parties, elected officials or candidates seeking public office. We will not accept donations from sources who, deemed by our board of directors, present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our independence.

The Team

Board of Directors

Jill Bernstein has continued to work on issues related to law and justice and on projects supporting democracy since her retirement as a criminal defense lawyer. Her first practice was with Prairie State Legal Services in Illinois. In Whatcom County, she worked with Evergreen Legal Services, as a public defender for the county, and in private practice. She has served as interim executive director of LAW Advocates and president of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and is active with the League of Women Voters.

Cheryl Crooks is Executive Director of CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival and is a professional photographer and writer with a studio in Bellingham. Cheryl began her career as a journalist and arts critic in Phoenix and was selected as a critic fellow of the O’Neill Theatre Institute. Cheryl then wrote for TIME Magazine, becoming the magazine’s West Coast medical reporter. Since moving to Bellingham, she has served on several arts and community boards, including the Mount Baker Theatre, the Bellingham Festival of Music, the Campaign for the Arts and Western Washington University’s College of Fine and Performing Arts.

Bill Dietrich is a journalist and author who won a Pulitzer Prize for covering the Exxon Valdez oil spill while at the Seattle Times. He is a graduate and university Distinguished Alumnus of Western Washington University/Fairhaven, and was a Nieman Journalism Fellow at Harvard University. He taught environmental journalism at Western’s Huxley College and was advisor to Planet magazine. Bill began his career at the Bellingham Herald and from his home in Anacortes has served on the boards of the North Cascade Institute, Skagit Land Trust, Northwest Straits Commission and Friends of the Forest. His 22 books range from the nonfiction Final Forest and Natural Grace to the bestselling Ethan Gage adventure novels.

Amy Nelson advocates for fact-based journalism and news literacy. She has been an editor, reporter and photographer for community newspapers in the Pacific Northwest; freelanced for print, broadcast and online publications; led communications for medical and scientific not-for-profit organizations; and managed scholarly publishing for an international scientific society, earning awards for excellence in journalism and communications along the way.

Matthew Thuney is a radio announcer, humorist, public relations consultant, wedding officiant and community organizer. He is active in the South Fork Valley Community Association, Foothills Communication Hub, Mount Baker Community Coalition and nonprofit community radio station KAVZ-LP 102.5. A recipient of both the Ken Gass Community Builder and South Fork Pillar of the Community awards, he is a community and continuing education instructor for Whatcom Community College, a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the author of Bucolia: Hijinx in the Hinterlands.

Community Advisors

  • Tony Angell
  • Joan Connell
  • Carolyn Dale
  • Bill Gorman
  • Eric Hirst
  • Stephen Howie
  • Shawn Kemp
  • Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor
  • Neil McKay
  • Maria McLeod
  • Lane Morgan
  • Ron Polinder
  • Dan Raas
  • Chuck Robinson
  • Barbara Ryan
  • Kathy Sheehan
  • Riley Sweeney
  • Janice Walker
  • Peggy Watt
  • Ted Wolf


Contributing Journalists


Whatcom County Library System Reference Desk, Fact Checking Support


Help us revive local journalism.

photo: Amy Nelson © 2022
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