PubliCola, the political news and gossip blog launched by former Stranger news editor Josh Feit three and a quarter plus years ago, is ceasing publication, its founder announced this afternoon.
Feit’s farewell post, which went live just before 3 PM, didn’t mince words.
“I’ve got a serious afternoon Jolt: PubliCola is going out of business. Sort of,” Feit wrote. He added:
While PubliCola has been successful producing influential, must-read news coverage and building a loyal readership (more than 400,000 monthly page views during the election season and currently more than 10,000 Facebook and Twitter followers), we haven’t been successful as a business. Advertising revenue has been limited and inconsistent.
Consequently, the site is shutting down, thought Feit says its main features will continue to live on for the time being at Crosscut, another local news startup. Feit and fellow PubliCola writer Erica C. Barnett have already moved into Crosscut’s offices in Pioneer Square, and may ultimately wind up as beat writers for Crosscut — though no long-term agreement has been reached yet.
Feit and Crosscut founder David Brewster have reportedly been in discussions about a tie-up for weeks and are still talking.
Feit sounded optimistic that something will get worked out.
We don’t know where this Crosscut PubliCorner, if you will, is going to lead. But there do seem to be some exciting possibilities: A combo of these two prominent local news sites—with Crosscut’s in-depth, analytical weekly articles and PubliCola’s on-the-ground, breaking news—could be awesome. And we’re considering it. Plus we could use their infrastructure, editors, and copy editing (they’ve got all that too). And they could use our younger readers and progressive voice. This could end up being a real win for the community.
Brewster, for his part, told The Stranger’s Dominic Holden he is working on raising money to allow Crosscut to afford the new hires.
There is an ambitious effort to raise this money over a two-year period to allow us to hire an impressive figure as leader of the company… I and the board want to see Crosscut operating at a considerably higher level of funding in order to have more stability, more impact, and more full-time reporters.
Brewster is also trying to bring aboard former Seattle P‑I managing editor David McCumber to run Crosscut and oversee its team of writers. The Seattle Weekly reports that discussions between Brewster and McCumber are still ongoing.
While we never much cared for PubliCola’s gossip-laden, horse-race driven features (Morning Fizz and Afternoon Jolt) we did appreciate the legislative session coverage the site offered, as well as the guest posts and more lengthy stories it published.
We wish Josh and Erica the best as they decide whether joining Crosscut’s stable of writers is what they want to do long-term.