April Fools: Seattle Times Does Not Hire Goldy

I was thinking of doing an April Fools post in which I announced that I had been hired by the Seattle Times as a political blogger and columnist. But every time I sat down to write it, it never came out funny.

The fact is, and as immodest as it may sound, there is no media outlet in Seattle that could profit more from my services than the Seattle Times. I would deliver the kind of edgy, funny, and provocative commentary younger audiences demand, while helping to combat the common perception of the Seattle Times as a paper hostile to our city’s urbanist and progressive values. I’d create a little havoc, sure—I mean, what kind of paper hires a columnist who is guaranteed to debunk their own editorials?—but those sort of intramurals make for a helluva good read. And given my tireless blogging and my decade of cultivating political sources, my blog would quickly become the most politically relevant feature in the paper since “Postman on Politics.”

And relevance is something the Seattle Times could use more of.

True story. The very last event I covered as an employee at The Stranger was a minimum wage forum held down the street at Seattle Central Community College. At one point, King County Council Member Larry Gossett quotes something from a Danny Westneat column, only to be met with blank stares from the couple hundred community college students in the room. “Danny Westneat… the Seattle Times?” Gossett prompts the crowd, raising his hand by example. “How many of you read Danny Westneat?”

Nobody raises their hand.

About ten minutes earlier, Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant had cited something in The Stranger, and mentioned that “Goldy” was in the room. A lot of heads turned around looking to see which person was Goldy.

This isn’t meant as a knock against Danny. I like Danny. He’s a smart, coherent, and thoughtful writer (if a bit too conventional for my tastes). And had that forum been held in front of the Municipal League instead of a bunch of grungy kids, nearly every hand in the room would have been raised at the mention of Danny’s name. But most of them would’ve been familiar with my work too, if less sympathetic. Love me or hate me, that’s the sort of broad relevance I could bring to Seattle’s last remaining daily.

Look, I know I haven’t always been kind to publisher Frank Blethen. But this is business. And I’m convinced that bringing somebody like me on board as a brash counterweight to his paper’s staid status quoist zeitgeist would be good for business. Then again, if the Blethen family was motivated purely by business interests, they probably would’ve unloaded the paper more than a decade ago.

So here I am howling into the wind on my lonely blog, as Blethen watches his aging readership gradually die off. Not sure which one of us is the bigger April fool.

Comments

  1. 1

    seatackled spews:

    I imagine their business interest is in protecting their wealth right now, so the corporately beneficial move of hiring Goldy would not be in that interest.

    But if they did seriously want to sell more papers, and are just unsure about having Goldy, maybe they could just give a trial run–say, a set number of columns for two weeks–and see what happens. I certainly would read.

  2. 4

    headless lucy spews:

    I always try doing an April Fools prank sometime in May. They never see it coming. (Kudos to Cheech ‘n’ Chong for that one)

    But seriously, Goldy; it’s no mean feat to have a successful political blog in a major U.S. city like Seattle. At least you have a base upon which to build.

  3. 5

    spews:

    @4 Maybe. But all the same, I grew weary of begging for my monthly expenses. That’s one of the reasons I went to The Stranger. And it’s just hard to envision myself picking up the blogging career where I left off without some financial guarantees.

  4. 6

    Hardon spews:

    FWIW, there are about the same number of jobs in Seattle now as there were in 1990, even though the population is ~40,000 higher. So don’t worry — you’re just a statistic.

  5. 7

    Keenan C spews:

    I hate to kick a man when he’s down but… you could always become an Uber driver (oh wait).

  6. 8

    Moderate Man spews:

    Given the way you feel (and write) about the Times, would they really qualify as a “Non-Evil Bidder” for your services? If they do qualify as non-evil, what Seattle company realistically would not?

  7. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “A lot of heads turned around looking to see which person was Goldy.”

    Well gee, Goldy, of course they do, because of your resemblance to a famous person. If a Marilyn Monroe look-a-like came into a room, everyone would look at her. You sorta look like Lenin.

  8. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @2, @3 One of the most fascinating features of capitalism is how fragile and fleeting wealth is. Fortunes seldom endure for more than a couple or three generations.

    A church my family attended when I was a young bunny acquired a shiny new addition through a gift of millions from a local business owner; the church building is still there, but faded and tired looking now; and the rich guy is long dead and his business went bankrupt years ago. Damn little is permanent in this world.

    The Blethens own a family business that has lasted five generations but its days are numbered, because no one in that family knows how to adapt to a changing world. So it is with many other businesses.

    Frank Blethen is stuck with a mortgage on a $150 million printing plant in a digital world. You may be richer than him right now. You know more about communicating via digital media than he does.

    When the Seattle Times dies, something will take its place. Which is the better gig, working for wages at a dying business, or owning the business that will replace his?

  9. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @5 I saw a news item on CNBC a couple days ago that said journalism hiring is up, and while newsies have suffered net job losses since 2009, the bleeding has stopped and journalists are getting hired back into paying positions.

    The article noted that a lot of these jobs are in small blogs with specialized beats that employ just 3 or 4 people. They’re not mega-media, but they’re making a living, just as boutique manufacturing and retailing are making comebacks. People are tired of watered-down corporate products and want the quality and personal touch their parents’ and grandparents’ generations enjoyed.

    Look at what happened in the beer industry. There used to be numerous mainstream brands, but now there are only two big commercial brewers left in the U.S., one of them foreign-owned, and they have swallowed all of the others. They also put out a crappy and overpriced product. So what’s happening? Microbreweries are springing up like dandelions after a spring rain! When you go into a bar today, how many people order a Bud or Miller? It’s all microbrews and imports now.

    Forget about the mega-media companies, Goldy. They’re passe, and on the way out. Figure out how to monetize a local media microbrew. It shouldn’t be that hard. People will pay for good stuff. There’s a vacuum in the local political news space; the print media with their shrunken newsrooms don’t cover it anymore. Do what other media purveyors do: Offer some free content to build up a regular reader base and make your money by charging for full access or access to the most value-added content.

  10. 12

    phil spews:

    @5 Put together a national blogging syndicate, so you can get national advertising. Set it up as a Co-op to share the risk and reward.

  11. 13

    Travis Bickle spews:

    If Gossett had asked instead, “How many of you can read?”, would the number of hands up in response be any greater?

  12. 14

    CPO spews:

    Marc Perkel is looking for someone to run Bartcop.com since Terry Coppage died. Goldy you could turn this into a real money maker if you updated the page’s format. There’s your new job!