Mistah Kurtz - he dead
THE DEATH OF A REAL NEWSMAN IN SEATTLE: I meditate tonight on the truly great people who gave their heart and soul for the Seattle P-I (THE REAL NEWSPAPER!) over my far-too-long career here - like Tom Sellers and Ed Penhale and Lenny Anderson, Phil Webber and Traynor Hansen and John O'Ryan and Jack Smith and too many living to even begin to name them all in this time and space -- and it is sad to relinquish such spirit to the clowns who dance and prance around our bones, the sound-off junkies and sycophantic philanderers about to usurp the Globe. Good luck and good riddance to the smug news of narcissistic no consequence. That cannot be the lasting legacy of the P-I, but it is our destiny all the same - sold down the road, cut off without respect or regard, by the very hand that we fed all these years of turmoil and doubt about what the future would hold.
Yes, former P-I readers and current followers of REAL NEWS NETWORK, the future of our old "real" Web home - where we started out as Seattle at Nite and The Big Blog and once fully embraced and fueled so-called new media in all its forms, where we supervised and edited and prodded and cajoled reporters to build something from nothing into an online juggernaut, where we conceived and lobbied for an all-sports blog, a police blog, where this very writer won an award for online blogging - has now been handed over to the chosen few remaining cacklers and pretenders who will give you things like:
More Foxy Knoxy, more Bachelor inside scoops, and American Idol twits and twitterers, more ambulance-chasing gang-banging, head-scratching headlines, more Facebook time and press release praises to Amazon and Starbucks and Microsofties and anything that makes most true Seattle readers puke! More fashion galleries and veiled "reader blogs" where fact and fiction and plagiarism and libel and innuendo can all be absolved with a disclaimer or just sheer disdain. Feature material supplied by typing mills. Reporters replaced by hit generators, content providers, facilitators, pawns, groveling for tidbits of jobs that have slashed salaries, reduced benefits, more work, no guarantees. You can always be replaced by another eager clown at any given moment, especially come summer when you can just get a bunch of new interns who will work for FREE. Smile, because you'll take lots of photos of yourself and post them so folks can see how cool it is to be a new-age journalist.
While journalism has come to this in some circles, TheSeattleGlobe.com aims to stand for something far different. As always, our mission is freedom of expression and artistic thought, but we will now offer up our Web site here as an alternative to the company that is about to lay us off.
Instead of announcing their above-board plans to continue a Web site with a staff of only 20 people, the chosen few who will remain at the P-I have chosen to let their scheme leak out with secret meetings and offers behind closed doors. The jobs aren't open for anyone to apply for even though the company plans on ending the jobs of 130 others and there are scores of more-qualified Web-based journalists already looking for work in the area and beyond. Seniority and skill are not even considered, and only a chosen few were even approached and told what possibilities might exist. Was age considered in not offering jobs to older workers? How many ethnic minorities were given opportunities to apply?
Is this how Hearst plans to conduct business in San Francisco, Houston, San Antonio, or any of its remaining newspapers that once made the company what it is - or isn't - to this very day? Did anyone consider that the Justice Department might have an interest in further investigating a company that openly flouts the Newspaper Preservation Act to actually kill a newspaper after gutting its supposed partner and leaving both papers all but bankrupt and ready to end all real journalism in Seattle as we know it now and may never have it again?
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpieces filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
Are quiet and meaningless
Tonight, as I prepared the very real news budget for the very real newspaper for the thousands of real readers who still pay real money to get their P-I every morning, some of the newer media types were filming themselves living out the last days of the paper and babbling on about Cameron Diaz and her latest photos that were up and posted in an online gallery and what sort of splash to give Sanjaya's new book."He looks so different with his hair cut."
As the copier printed out a budget of real stories that would have to be slashed just to make it into print, I thought of when I once started at the P-I and how we probably would have been debating other things at such a moment - like what the hell the governor was going to do with the biggest fiscal crises faced by the state since the Depression; or why we have a homeless camp that keeps getting run all over the city; or why no one is challenging the mayor at the time Seattle's core seems to be falling apart at the seams; or why the P-I has been reduced to covering the Legislature with interns.
We once fought hard to bring stories like that to the light of real readers night after night after night in the pages of the P-I for over 25 years at REAL NEWS. You can trace it all online if you like and the proof lies there in the truth. Real News will seek a new truth now, one that begins here on these pages and sheds new light on what true online expression can become when fused by REAL journalism. Hope you click on some of our sponsors and help us make some money for the road ahead.
All proceeds will be put directly back into the cooperative that has always been Real News Network, and while we can't pay as much as our former employer, we certainly offer any of our former colleagues free space and free reign to write and publish and contribute anything they like to the new and the very real THESeattleGlobe.com. We will keep the Globe spinning on our own middle finger now, thank you very much!!!
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us - if at all - not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.
REAL PEOPLE TALK ABOUT THE FUTURE WITHOUT THE SEATTLE P-I:
This comes from the Central District News from a post by "JayF" that includes an interesting link below to some thoughts from one of our neighbors about
what Seattle without the Post-Intelligencer and two daily
newspapers will be like.
I actually gave up on regularly reading newspapers even before the web, and so I might have predicted the end of industrial age newspapers a long time ago. But, in spite of that, now that it's actually happening--and happening locally with the Seattle PI, I can't say that I ever prepared to live in a city where one might not be able to find a couple different local papers offering serious coverage of the big stories.
So, what does this have to do with the Central District? Well, in some sense, the local newspapers haven't really had a ton of attention on local issues in our neighborhoods. And, that's part of the reason why the newspapers are dying out--the newspapers aren't primarily in the news business, they are in the business of delivering us (the public) to their audience: the advertisers. And, being treated like a product by the papers is not a priority for most of us.
But, on the other hand, the PI and Seattle Times have both employed journalists who have provided some serious coverage of issues that effect us. And, however one might complain about newspapers, we've got to worry about, e.g., what shenanigans go down at city hall if there's not a couple different journalists digging into those stories and bringing them to the public.
Fortunately, we have Central District News and the other neighborhood blogs / site around Seattle. I don't know that these websites can altogether replace what we might get from the PI, but they are part of it--and, in some very local ways, we already are getting a lot better information out of them.
Mike Davidson, who works at Newsvine (a news company with offices in the PI building) wrote some of his thoughts and observations in Last Rites. And, that made me want to post something here to CDN. I don't have any answers (though Mike has some ideas--which are worth looking into).
FINDING OUR WAY HOME FROM THE DEATH OF THE SEATTLE P-I
With our newspaper, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, set to die at the hands and small mind of William R. Hearst's ghost by March 18 after over 150 years of publication and history here in the Pacific Northwest, please feel free to enjoy this rare glimpse inside the true heart, the enduring spirit, of our wonderfully talented staff: This video features original music and performances from a band of employees that has been making music as well as news together the past three years. It also features raw footage of Hearst Corp. CEO Steven Swartz refusing to take questions from P-I reporters when he announces the imminent closure of the paper.
On a personal note, I am deeply saddened today to hear that my newspaper, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, will be shut down after more than a century of publication unless a buyer can be found in the next 60 days.
While we have been busy making music and entertainment here for free on these pages, the real folks at Real News Network also have been putting out the P-I day after day after day after day in Seattle for nearly a quarter of a century. We are part of the fabric of Seattle far more than Real News is a part of the universe here on the Web.
Over the next 60 days, we will chronicle the life and – quite possibly – the death of a newspaper and what it means to the future of the Real News Band and the world at large. Certainly, we ask that anyone who is able or inspired or inclined: please help support us in the future by downloading some of our songs or buy some of the CDs. We are using all the proceeds to help broker the freedom of our newspaper's history and keep REAL journalism thriving and alive in Seattle. This editor was interviewed today on National Public Radio and made an appeal to those in Seattle with money and wherewithal to step forward and help save what certainly is -- and has been -- a vital part of our wonderful community here. As our own personal REAL NEWS ORGANIZATION, we will seek over the next 60 days to design the newspaper of the future that can co-exist with the Web world we have spun and still give readers news and information and entertainment they can touch and feel, tear apart, fold up and read in the bathroom, in the easy chair, on the bus and train and the lunchrooms across our region. Since technically, we still work for the Hearst Corporation, we first would make an appeal to the ghost of William Randolph himself to wake his company up to the future of news, which is right here and right now before us. We vow to continue the real journalism we practice day in and day out for the real readers of the Seattle P-I and those that follow us all individually and collectively on these REAL NEWS pages here, as well. This is not journalism that we do here, it is music and satire and poetry and everything but real news.
The REAL NEWS, however, can no longer be silenced or ignored – the time has come for all of us to recognize that our jobs, our families, our community, our very way of life in this world is being endangered by the little white men in suits who have taken this country to the brink of economic chaos and panic. We will not panic and we will continue to bring you as much news as we can as long as we draw a breath of air here in Seattle.
And since our newspaper is up for sale, REAL NEWS officially declares its intention to make a bid for the Post-Intelligencer and its operations, its name and its Globe – even its sports banquet. Those who would like to help or suggest financing plans are welcome to join the effort.
We will detail the vision over the next 60 days of how this newspaper can contract with an -- independent printing plant to produce a scaled-back tabloid version of the current bastardized broadsheet the P-I has become
-- a paper that would be published three times a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday – and distributed for free at all major commuter corridors in the city, re-establishing some of the current home delivery circulation base through mail delivery, and maximizing new technology to deliver the paper in downloadable formats through internet subscriptions. -- advertising in the near future would be contracted to a local company already set up to handle a broad platform of new revenue-producing options currently restricted by the Joint Operating Agreement with the Seattle Times.
Broken free of that agreement, the P-I could immediately independently develop new media synergy to fully capitalize on a Web site that legitimately produces over 2 million visits each and every day, yet sustain the operation through traditional print advertising revenue as well; underselling the daily newspaper competition in terms of rates and overwhelming the weekly competition with volume, circulation and national advertising.
In the cold winter storm today, this REAL NEWS editor went unning to the top of High Point Hill and looked out over the Space Needle to where the P-I Globe still spins at the base of Queen Anne in the distance. As the sweat poured from my body, an old Neil Young song came into my ears from the iPod. It was a song he did back many years ago from a long-lost live album:
“I’ve seen love make a fool of a man. It tried to make a loser win. Well I’ve got nothing to lose I can’t get back again.”
I’ve got nothing to lose I can’t get back again; My purpose in life. My pride. My dedication. My newspaper. You can take it away, but I will get it back, even if I have to simply do it on my own right here on these wonderful Real News pages that have brought us all together for something far greater, even more magnificent to come.
Peace and joy will be
our mission, always,