Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

P-I alumni launch new online media venture

Earlier today, a team of ex-Hearst employees unveiled the Seattle Post-Globe, a new online media venture that hopes to chronicle the happenings of Seattle. As former P-I reporter Kery Murakami explained, the goal is to create a new kind of news organization, mixing approaches for distributing information and relying on partnerships to successfully attract and grow an audience.
Today, we - former P-I journalists - are embarking on a new stage in our careers, hoping to fulfill our life's mission in a different way. We want to keep letting you know what's really going on in this city.

At first, we're doing this as volunteers. But what you'll find on this Web site is a story much larger than ours.

As in Denver, where the journalists of the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News also are starting their own news site, we're forging on because we believe newspaper-quality journalism needs to continue even as newspapers close.
While we welcome our new colleagues into the online realm, and wish them the best, they would do well to understand that just because writers for blogs like ours may not have degrees from prestigious J-schools doesn't mean we can't produce "newspaper quality journalism". Ironically, that phrase basically implies that real journalists only work for newspapers.

Obviously, Kery and his colleagues don't believe that themselves, or they'd be busy working on acquiring printing presses and leasing office space so they could start anew with their own newspaper, not launching a website.

Just as anyone can learn to be a political activist, anyone can learn to be a journalist. Progressive blogs have been blending political activism and journalism for years out of necessity - because corporate media outlets have not been doing a very good job of serving the public.

That's not to say the Seattle Post-Intelligencer was a bad publication (to the contrary) but like all corporate media, it had its shortcomings. As Markos Moulitsas and Jerome Armstrong wrote in their book Crashing the Gate:
Both of us started our blogs because wanted a voice in our nation's politics. We had hundreds, then thousands, of readers as we somehow tapped into a greater need for strong progressive voices - voices that had been shut out of the corporate media outlets. And the online medium allowed a level of participation nonexistent in traditional media. It wasn't us talking down to our readers. It was all of us collectively having a conversation.
While our friends have languished under the veto pen of editors for years, we have the freedom to pursue any angle to bring the unvarnished truth to our readers with complete editorial freedom.

Like many other online publications, we don't strive for objectivity, but that doesn't mean we are incapable of being journalists.

In the blogosphere, all things are possible.

Credibility online comes from engaging with readers and putting together a quality product. And with the instantaneous nature of comments and e-mail, it's easy to know immediately if you're not living up to the expectations of your audience.

Again, we wish the team at the Seattle Post-Globe the best, and we hope they'll realize that we and other pioneers of citizen and activist powered media are always here to provide friendly advice. We know the online world well; after all, we've been broadcasting our thoughts in it for the better part of the last decade.


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