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:

  • KCTS and Moss Bresnahan for free office space and being our fiscal sponsor during our initial months.
  • Justin Carder and Scott Durham of Instivate for creating the site you’ve seen for two years, and making us a part of Neighborlogs.
  • Rennie A. Sawade of Wrenware and WashTech.org for voluntarily creating our original site and in August 2011 moving our site to a new server to serve as an archive.
  • Andrew Saeger (AndrewSaeger.com) for creating the cool Seattle PostGlobe bird logo.
  • Attorney Kathy George of Harrison Benis & Spence LLP for her legal assistance.
  • Attorney Scot J. Johnston for legal assistance. Also, attorney Signe Naeve for legal advice.
  • Shunpike, our longtime nonprofit fiscal sponsor.
  • Spot.us, an invaluable resource that helped us drum up donations for our special projects.
  • Common Language Project and InvestigateWest for use of your full-length projects, and to our other partners whose work we highlighted.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katrina Beach takes a break from her bike ride to enjoy the fog lifting at Golden Gardens Park. Grant Haller shot the image as part of a September 2009 photo essay. (Photo: Grant M. Haller)

 

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:

 

(Photo by Mike Kane)

  • 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.

Best,

Sally Deneen, co-founder and curator

Seattlepostglobe@yahoo.com

 

** 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.

34 Responses to Goodbye and thank you from Seattle PostGlobe

  • Kurt Clark:

    Always bummed to see unique local resources retire. Will the site remain as an archive, or will it be taken down?

  • Scott St. Clair:

    Methinks you doth brag too much about your accomplishements. You say that you were the only news outlet to report on the sale of the four old Steel Electric ferries to a Mexican scrap metal outfit. You are wrong. I reported on it here: http://crosscut.com/2009/09/11/ferries/19205/The-classic-fer

    If you took the time and effort to fact check, maybe you wouldn’t find yourself so embarrassed at having to shut down. And if you realized that journalism isn’t a paper-and-ink product anymore – it’s gone viral. Typical of many former P-I staffers who bemoaned their fate as if it was the end of Western Civilization when it was nothing more than the obsolesence of a business model.

    Write when you find work…

  • Chris Hopkins:

    Sounds like they did pretty well with the resources they had. And I’m glad so many of them found new employment.

  • nwcitizen:

    I often visited your site for news about community matters not reported on other sites. For example, I very much appreciated Keri Murakami’s accurate and sensitive reporting on Nickelsville at a time when the encampment residents were being persecuted by City government. Thankfully that time seems to have ended with the more benign policies of the current City administration.

    Thank you Post-Globe!

  • Mary Witter:

    Thanks for the memories.

  • bigyaz:

    No further comment required.

  • Donna Terra Gary-Gogerty:

    Sorry to see you go …best of luck to you all wherever the road may lead …

  • rewrite:

    Simultaneously snotty and self-promoting. Nicely played. Jerk.

  • robertmcclure:

    Thank you for all the work you have done tirelessly and without pay, on a volunteer basis, to keep Seattle informed about what former P-I staffers are doing, for the community forum you provided, and especially for the enterprise journalism you provided — the breath that fills the lungs of democracy. Yours was a motivated, high-minded group of journalists doing this for all the right reasons. Kery Murakami in particular deserves huge props for getting this off the ground in the first place.

    One commenter on this story characterized Post-Globe volunteers as embarrassed and asked you to write when you get work. It should be obvious from your post that you have your heads held high as you discontinue this labor of love. Likewise, as you said right there in the post, you’re taking this action because you all have other jobs now.

    I hope you still get a few donations from time to time, even if they’re no longer tax-deductible, so you can keep an archival site up on the web. There’s some fine journalism here that should be available to historians.

    Seattle will miss you. Godspeed.

  • Sharon M Anderson:

    I was with you during the strike as a Teamters Local 174 member. I read the paper you put out then, I read you in the PI (I never subscribed to the Times.), and I’ve been a reader and contributor in a VERY small way since you got my attention after starting the PostGlobe.

    I’ll try to remember to check all the sites you’ve mentioned in the article (I have them bookmarked), and I’ll miss this publication very much. Thanks for being there. You’ve been a great bunch.

  • Scott St. Clair:

    Toughen up people. The market has spoken on Seattle Post Globe, just as it did on the P-I, and probably for the same reasons.

    The reading public grew tired of retread, left-wing apologist excuses for extortion attempts like Nickelsville. And the fact that it falsely claimed an exclusive and has yet to print a retraction speaks for its credibility.

    You would think that people who read it were owed an organ that parroted their point of view. Well, it’s obvious that you get what you pay for, and since you didn’t pay enough, you won’t get it any more.

    Business come and go every day. There are more news and opinion outlets today than at any time in history – and that by a factor of God only knows what. Even progressives and liberals have umpteen tedious websites from which to choose.

    Time to move on because tomorrow nobody will care.

  • Reuven Carlyle:

    The team’s passion for activist, thoughtful, aggressive independent journalism is appreciated very, very much. Best regards to the team and thanks for making a sincere effort to continue elevating the dialogue in Seattle and statewide about real issues.

    Reuven Carlyle
    State Representative
    36th District

  • Kristen Young:

    To Sally and the good people of Seattle PostGlobe,

    Thank you for what you did to preserve local journalism. Your reporting did not go unnoticed. Though it was underfunded, it was well done. You selflessly and tirelessly provided an outlet for ex P-I journalists and other freelancers to report on important news, gaining them fresh clips and a way to stay relevant. I salute you.

    -Kristen

  • Rujax!:

    …to be a self-serving jerk.

  • Rujax!:

    …your service to the community.

    Great effort and tghe very best to all of you!

  • Rujax!:

    …like nobody gives a fuck about you here?

    Good riddance to the “crack piper”.

  • For the record:

    For accuracy’s sake, neither Post-Globe nor Crosscut were first regarding the ferries. http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20081001/NEWS01/710019822&news01ad=1

  • Tracy from WSB:

    “…not all news media must be reduced to fashion photos and cat videos.”

    Amen.

    Good luck & Godspeed. We are 100 percent bootstrapped and we know how tough that is. Hope that anyone left who hasn’t found another gig yet will consider trying something on their own. It can be done. And SO many stories are still waiting to be told. Everywhere.

  • Hector:

    Sally and Kery and all of you at the Post Globe, I truly admire what you did and what you tried to do.

  • David Brewster:

    Thanks to you for keeping stories and good reporters in the game. Gratitude is owed as well to KCTS-TV, which provided a free newsroom space for a while and the possibility of a new newsroom for several public broadcast outlets: another brave gesture.

  • Bruce:

    I applaud anyone who could keep something like this alive for as long as they did — two years. I did check in from time to time and enjoyed the space. It would appear that many were able to move on on their own terms.

    Scott St. Claire, if that is indeed you, if your goal is to change hearts and minds in the liberal Northwest, I’d avoid the snarky asides in a public forum. When the political tsunami swept the country in 2010, the Northwest remained untouched. I guess that would mean that the “retread, left-wing apologist(s)” were more persuasive than you were. You certainly scored no points for the Evergreen Freedom Foundation today.

    Best of luck to each and all who contributed to the PostGlobe.

    Bruce

  • peter herford:

    Quite a contrast between Mr. St Clair the writer and David Brewster, the founder of Crosscut. Accuracy is a worthy subject for all journalists; but it is not a club to be used to beat up on other journalists. Correcting an inaccuracy is a service. Using the correction to trash colleagues belittles Mr. St. Clair and the publication that may think twice about his standards and ethics.
    peter herford

  • D:

    I know this is a sad day – and it seems that there have been more sad days than not in the industry in, oh, the past decade or so – but I choose think of your work here as a sign of something great. The lack of funding doesn’t wipe away the fact that for two years you guys did what so few have done in other markets – you kept asking the hard questions, kept reporting and kept publishing without Big Daddy Hearst footing the bill. How many CEOs at the company would keep on, em, CEOing without a regular paycheck? Uh-huh. Thought so.
    So incredibly proud of your efforts and honored to have worked in the same newsroom as many of you….
    D.

  • Barbara Clements:

    For all your hard work!

  • sandi kurtz:

    to the choir represented here. It’s been a pleasure to read, and I do hope that you are able to archive this site, particularly in light of the research you’ve been able to do. Ageing newsprint may indeed be fragile, but it’s beginning to look like online content is even more at risk as time passes.

  • KathrynM:

    I didn’t even know this website existed until I read it was closing down. I actually thought it was the online PI & wondered why neither paper was covering its demise. Obviously I’ve missed another good place for news & commentary.

  • Trapper:

    It’s a great loss to have another source of news and commentary shut down. Thank you for your insightful articles, your great news stories, your journalistic integrity that made this site such a joy to read. I will miss it.

    As to the “person” that continues to belittle your contribution to Northwest news, it only makes him look small and mean by comparison.

    Thank you again.

  • Carolyn Hale:

    Thank you for watching so many things and keeping us in the “know”. As a teacher, a volunteer leader of a non-profit for the adults with serious mental illness and as a Raging Grannie, keep up the work as you can. Thanks.

  • bluedog:

    Another sad day in Seattle. The photography is amazing. Thank you for trying and for caring.

  • Sophi Zimmerman:

    When independent news outlets go out of print. I’ll miss your work.

  • Orin:

    As you go down for the third time, you still don’t seem to understand this simple truth: NOBODY CARED WHEN THE PRINT P-I CLOSED. Too bad you’re so encased inside your little bubble to realize this…

  • Sally Deneen:

    3rd time?

  • billwhite:

    As this article on the closing of the PostGlobe has received 7459 views as of August 9th, it is apparent that somebody does indeed care. And out of 32 comments, you are one out of only two people who made a public display of your indifference and/or hostility to this effort to perpetuate a free press as the very idea of professional journalism becomes an anachronism in the blogosphere, where a cacophony of uninformed opinion threatens to replace the serious investigation of newsworthy stories.

  • dmitch:

    I’m sorry to see you go. Thanks for the good work!