Thursday, April 10, 2008

Saving the enemy

Well, OK, the Seattle Times isn't exactly my enemy, only the main competitor of my last paper, the P-I. And I'm not exactly saving it. But I did agree -- not foolishly, I hope -- to take part in an online discussion at Crosscut on the topic "How to turn around the Seattle Times."

Chuck Taylor, my friend and the editor of Crosscut, asked a large group of former Times reporters and editors to join him in the virtual roundtable following the news this week that the paper is cutting 200 jobs, including 30 layoffs in the newsroom.

Chuck began by laying out a somewhat radical view of what the Times should do, including giving away the paper for free at newsstands and raising the home subscription price "until it's cheaper for people to buy and own an iPhone." Then my old colleague Peter Lewis chimed in with a few ideas, and last night I added some thoughts too. So far, with the exception of a meager comment thread from readers, that's the extent of the discussion. You can read it here if you're interested.

I had some trepidation about offering what could be construed as advice to the Times, having last worked at the P-I and holding out some hope of returning there. (Not that the Times would listen anyway or, for that matter, that I came up with anything particularly novel.) Anyway, I hope my former bosses aren't offended.

Meanwhile, in clicking around this morning I ran across this funny cartoon by Rob Tornoe at a new site called

PolitickerWA, about a month old now, is part of a growing national network of "Politicker" sites. In fact, I read just yesterday about PolitickerCA at LAObserved, one of my favorite sites, and looked to see if there was a WA version. Sure enough. Its managing editor is James Pindell, whose bio lists political reporting, editing and blogging gigs at several web sites and papers including the Boston Globe.

So far the content is a bit thin but it looks promising. The more sources for this kind of information the better, and I wish this enterprise well.

(Cartoon used by permission)

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