Get to know the staff of The Cambrian

sduerr@thetribunenews.comMay 14, 2014 

This column will regularly offer profiles of our news staff — those who write the stories, take the pictures and video, create maps, edit the stories and design pages. Today we feature the staff of The Cambrian, our weekly newspaper serving the North Coast. They recently received three awards in the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s Better Newspapers Contest, including the prestigious General Excellence award, which takes into account general news coverage, breadth of coverage, story selection and quality of writing.

Bert Etling

Bert, 55, has been managing editor at The Cambrian and an assistant city editor at The Tribune since September 2000. He began his professional newspaper career as sports editor, general news reporter and photographer for the Santa Ynez Valley News in Solvang in 1982. He left the paper in 1985 to manage a fast-growing, high-end commercial printer in Buellton whose clients included numerous wineries and artists.

He returned to the Santa Ynez Valley News in 1997 as managing editor before moving to Cambria.

Born in North Carolina, Bert moved to Solvang with his family in 1966. He graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1980.

Under his leadership, The Cambrian has won many accolades. Before winning the CNPA’s General Excellence award this year for its division (weekly 4,300-and-under circulation), it was runner-up for three years. It also was runner-up twice in the national Inland Press Foundation Nation’s Best Non-Daily competition.

Besides these honors, Bert has personally won first- or second-place awards three times for editorial comment and four times for page design — including this year, when he won second place for the latter.

“Information is oxygen for our society, our economy, our democracy,” Bert said. “It couldn’t be more invigorating than to get to facilitate the gathering and spreading of information every day, in print, online and through social media, using words, photos and video.”

Outside of the office, he enjoys reading and hiking: “Life’s all about exploring, about learning new things.”

Kathe Tanner

Kathe calls herself a storyteller who loves to write, learn, know what’s happening and then share that information. “It’s fun,” she said.

She has been associated with The Cambrian and The Tribune since her weekly column debuted in 1981. A decade later, she was hired as a part-time reporter at the weekly, going full-time the next year. The longtime Cambria resident covers the entire North Coast, west of the Santa Lucia ridge, from Villa Creek to the Monterey County line. Her column and stories also run regularly in The Tribune.

Kathe’s career has been varied. After starting as a radio performer at the age of 7, the New York native has been a DJ and newscaster, voice-over and commercial talent; copywriter and public-relations director for radio, TV and advertising agencies; freelance writer; bakery owner/operator/cake decorator; caterer; art-jewelry designer; book editor; and caregiver.

She has won 26 individual statewide CNPA awards, including a first place award this year for best coverage of local government for a series on the controversy over Caltrans’ resurfacing of a section of Highway 1 near Cambria. She also has shared CNPA awards with other staffers and received numerous awards of merit.

Kathe said her favorite stories are those where her work has “had a positive effect on the people in the story and the community as a whole,’’ such as Cambria’s Head Start program, the community’s search for more water and a special edition on why Cambria is a firetrap.

Kathe is married to Richard Tanner. They have a blended family of four children, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Sandra Duerr is executive editor of The Tribune. If you have specific ideas for coverage, please email her at sduerr@thetribunenews.com   or write her c/o The Tribune, P.O. Box 112, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406-0112. Follow her on Twitter @SandraDuerr.

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