How Willard Scott Changed Our Lives

By Mike Johnson

Weatherman. Pitchman. Author. The first Ronald McDonald. Our magic moment with Willard Scott happened by accident.

We received a tip he was boating over to our island to visit a mango farm. We were struggling with the start-up of our community newspaper on Pine Island, a rural island off the west coast of Florida. Willard was vacationing on Sanibel Island, a few miles across the bay.

Willard stepped off the boat. I told him I was the editor/owner of the new newspaper & handed him a copy to prove I was legit. He immediately jumped into pitchman & posed for the photo here. As friendly & folksy as your favorite uncle, Willard then hung around to chat & pose with others at the marina.

Until then, we'd only published 7 issues, all black & white with one color on the top banner. We splashed this photo on the front page, above the fold, in full four-color. It was a huge confidence & credibility boost. A week later, the established newspaper on the island switched to full color too, just to keep up with US.

So why does this photo look like it's on the cover of Life magazine?

Because in our basement, it is. We selected five poster-sized photographs to represent our life, designed them as if they're covers of Life, & hung them as perpetual inspiration.

This was a great creative project that anyone can copy. Learn more about it here: "What's On The Cover Of Your Life?


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