Goodbye and thank you from Seattle PostGlobe
| THANK YOU
Thank you to our donors for your support, which made what we did possible. We also wish to extend special thanks to:
It’s been an eventful two years – sometimes fun, sometimes a mountain of work, but always worthwhile. And now it’s time for the PostGlobe to say goodbye and thank you. It’s time for us to move on.
We started as a nonprofit news site created by laid-off staffers of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer after the 146-year-old paper printed its last edition on what for others was a festive St. Patrick’s Day in 2009. More than 100 journalists lost their jobs as the paper scaled down its staff and went online-only. Some ended their journalism careers that day, as newspaper jobs nationally continued to evaporate – nearly 15,000 other print journalists lost their jobs that year.
Part of our purpose for starting PostGlobe was to provide former P-I staffers both hope and an outlet, as Kery Murakami, a former P-I reporter who spearheaded the site, told the Seattle Times in those early days. “We want them to know that it’s not over, that you can still write for us, even if you have to get a job at Wal-Mart,” he said.
So it was that Seattle Mariners reporter John Hickey still covered the Mariners, foreign affairs editor Larry Johnson blogged about foreign affairs, art-film reviewer Bill White reviewed art films, and so on, as Columbia Journalism Review wrote in this nice write-up. Six months later, Murakami found himself the “primary reporter, editor, art director, accountant, copy chief, IT troubleshooter,” as another CJR piece put it. People left as they found jobs or ways to get paid for their work: Murakami exited in late 2009 (he currently works at Newsday). John Hickey currently writes for P-I sports legend Art Thiel’s operation, SportsPress Northwest, as well as Comcast SportsNet Northwest. PostGlobe over time has morphed into something else — a community site that does a fair amount of aggregation as well as some of our own enterprise reporting.
A recap of some of our major enterprise:
- Eric Ruthford explored how gangs are turning from selling drugs to selling girls for sex as part of a special series on teen prostitution in Seattle.
- Our reality check on the King County 10-year plan to end homelessness revealed shortcomings; no one could think of a single homeless program that will close for lack of demand.
- We broke the story about City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco getting a $40,000 bonus from the city. It’s impossible to know if another reporter would have discovered that eventually. But we may never have known had we not been there.
- We broke the story of how Seattle might ban smoking in parks.
- We “ truth-squaded ” the proposal by King County Council members to have Seattle pay for the downtown bus tunnel and were the only ones to report Metro believes Seattle was already paying its fair share.
- We were the only ones first to reported a bit of Seattle history – the sale of four old ferries that cruised Puget Sound for decades. And we chronicled their departure for a scrap yard in Mexico.**
The thanks for these stories goes not just to the journalists, but also to our generous donors, mostly civic-minded citizens who gave in small denominations. You made possible this venue for bridging the gap and more fully informing Seattle readers.
We’ve been proud to be part of what journalism observers are calling a hotbed of innovative journalism models here in Seattle.
But there have been obstacles.
A person shouts in front of a car lit by rioters shortly after the Canucks were defeated by the Boston Bruins in the seventh game of the Stanley Cup in Vancouver, B.C., on June 15, 2011, “As long as it’s staying safe, it’s good to express yourself.” the person said. (Photo copyright – Karen Ducey of KarenDucey.com)
Donations have fallen off. Ads have generated no meaningful revenue — ever. We began with no startup money. We obtained no grants. All of which actually provided unusual freedom. But as a volunteer-run site, we’ve run out of helping hands as unemployed journalists have left for jobs. (Which is a good thing!)
So this is our final month.
We will attempt to keep the site up for archival value. But we will no longer collect donations through what has been our fiscal sponsor, Shunpike, which had made donations tax-deductible.
This logo greeted theater-goers attending the 2009 Seattle play “It’s NOT in the P-I.” The P-I wasn’t the only paper to close that year. Nearly 15,000 layoffs and buyouts took place at U.S. newspapers in 2009, reports the Paper Cuts blog.
We were called the PostGlobe because of that wonderful big representation of Mother Earth atop the waterfront building where New York-based Hearst Corp. housed the P-I staff before so many were let go. We attempted to follow the “post-Globe” activities of that seasoned group of journalists who for so long had worked under that Globe to offer Seattleites smart, scrappy local insights and superb photography.
As we end SeattlePostGlobe.org, it coincidentally turns out that this week also marks a turning point for the hardworking
but tiny staff of the online-only Seattlepi.com: Its journalists are leaving their Globe-topped building to move into a different space nearby. The future of the Globe itself is uncertain. A fitting symbol for the state of indepth journalism.
We ask that you continue to choose to read the insightful writings of the independent journalists we have attempted to highlight at PostGlobe, including the dogged reporters at ProPublica, the Center for Public Integrity, Common Language Project, InvestigateWest, and Tom Paulson’s Humanosphere. Please consider bookmarking Paul Nyhan’s Birth to Thrive blog on early learning, Gene Stout’s music reviews, Martha Baskin’s environment reporting, as well as checking out stories from nonprofit Crosscut and local independent blogs, such as Justin Carder’s hyperlocal Capitol Hill Seattle Blog and Jonah Spangenthal-Lee’s SeattleCrime.com.
Seattleites know the power of voting and of spending money at indie establishments. Exercise your power to improve journalism: Support independent journalists. Click on their stories. Spend time with them. “Like” their articles on Facebook. Tweet about them. You will, in this way, show grant makers and advertisers that they’re worthwhile; not all news media must be reduced to fashion photos and cat videos.
We have attempted at PostGlobe to serve as a megaphone for indie journalists, and now it’s your turn to grab the megaphone. Thank you for accepting this easy but powerful charge. You have more power than you may ever know.
Sally Deneen, co-founder and curator
** This story originally incorrectly stated that PostGlobe was the only outlet to report a bit of Seattle history – the sale of four old ferries that cruised Puget Sound for decades — and that we were the only outlet to chronicle their departure for a scrap yard in Mexico. We regret the error.
In fact, we tried to do a unique take on the subject at the point where the scrap-yard folks were about to haul the old ferries off to Mexico, but the PostGlobe wasn’t the only outlet covering the subject, as pointed out by two commenters below. Reached via email today (July 30), reporter Larry Lange set the matter straight. He recalled reporting on the ferries: “There had been other stories on the pending sale of the ferries for scrap in late 2008, before the PostGlobe started up. All the local media, including the P-I when it was printing, the Herald and others reported the ferry system’s plan to sell the boats.
“What Grant and I did for the Post Globe months later was a long followup that traced the history of the four boats, the decision first to take them out of service and then the difficulties getting them sold. One previous sale had fallen through because scrap-metal prices had dropped. The ferry system ultimately had to take a lot less money for the boats than it had hoped, just to get them out of the maintenance yard. The PostGlobe story picked up the thread when the state finally got a firm buyer and had his check in hand, hence the new story lead: ‘this time, the scrap yard for sure.’” – S.D.