This is how I knew Chuck Taylor was a faithful reader (though never a commenter) of M&M: When I whipped out my little camera last night to take his picture, he said "I was expecting that," and quickly reached for his too.
Actually, Chuck already had acknowledged reading and enjoying the blog, which was cool. Instead of lunch, we met for a post-work (for him) drink at a cool bar downtown called The Bookstore. It was nice of him to fit me into his busy schedule -- the guy starts work at 5:30 in the morning and was just leaving the office when we met at 6.
Hard to believe Chuck and I have known each other for 20 years now. When I started at the Seattle Times as a bureau reporter in 1987 Chuck was a page designer, I think, and also a fill-in or part-time night city editor, which is how I usually crossed paths with him. Over the years he had several other jobs there, memorably as a Boeing beat reporter and local media reporter/critic. Later, when the Seattle Newspaper Guild went on strike against the Times and P-I, Chuck organized and edited a rogue paper by striking reporters and photographers that was quite good. That led to a job as managing editor of the Seattle Weekly and then to his current job, editor of the startup Web-only news site, Crosscut.
Chuck and I were never close friends, but always friendly. And we always had a lot of respect, I think, for each other's work. I've certainly never seen Chuck take on something without making it much better. We also share an entrepreneurial spirit and occasional work restlessness that has kept us connected. We joked last night, in fact, that of the many many drinks or meals we've shared over the years quite a few involved one of us feeling out the other about a gig.
Last night was no exception. We talked briefly about part-time editing or occasional writing opportunities there might be for me at Crosscut. And we engaged in a fun, not overly nasty edition of "5 Guys and a Mac," the sort of fantasy-newspaper game Mich and I invented a couple decades ago -- you take turns picking five reporters to staff your fantasy paper in a heads-up competition. (We agreed Danny Westneat is by far the best columnist in town, and I volunteered that my first pick from the P-I would be the rock-steady reporter Jennifer Langston.)
Anyway, it was fun. I don't know if anything ever will come of the Crosscut job ideas we talked about last night, although I like the publication a lot and would be honored to work for it.
Meantime I'd certainly be happy to draft Chuck for my 5 Guys and Mac team.