Online Content

This may come as a surprise to those of you who are new to politics or the Northwest: for a while, The Seattle Times was by far the local newspaper that did online content the best. Sure, it was mostly that they had a guy (Postman) who was willing to do a regularly updated, well written blog. It wasn’t like they had a brilliant strategy, they just sort of lucked into it, as evidenced by the fact that (a) it was just one guy and not the whole newsroom (b) they let him go and (c) since he left they haven’t come close to recreating it.

Still, when The Stranger and The P-I’s online content was just their articles, there was a lot of breaking news on the Times’ website mostly from Postman. The Seattle Times could have built on their lead. Instead, I go to what should be (and sadly, maybe is) their premier blog, Ed Cetera and it’s awful. It hasn’t been updated since May 28, so almost a week. Their supposedly weekly feature (that, yes, I was only on their blog looking for something to make fun of) was last written in April.

And look, it’s a rather different skill set, writing for a newspaper and writing online. While I think the general quality of the columns leaves something lacking, I fully admit that what they do isn’t in my wheelhouse. And nobody is asking them to do what we bloggers do, really. They still write for a family newspaper, so they don’t need to say “fuck” as much as me, and can deploy snark less frequently. Still, I don’t know how newspapers are going to survive if they neglect online content as much as The Seattle Times has.

And ultimately, I want The Seattle Times to survive. There’s no other outlet for investigative journalism of the same magnitude in the region. There’s nowhere else that can spark the same conversation across the region like the front page of The Seattle Times (not even TV, and certainly not blogs). But for that to survive in an increasingly online world, I think they have to adapt, and they haven’t yet.


  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    There will always be demand for news and journalism. What’s obsolete is Frank Blethen’s $150 million printing plant and fleet of delivery trucks, the inefficiencies of which simply can’t compete with instant online news. What journalists have to do now is figure out a new way of getting paid for their work product now that advertising-supporting printers are going the same way as donkey carts.

  2. 3

    proud leftist spews:

    If independent, investigative journalism doesn’t survive, we’re all fucked. I’m not sure, however, what the successful model might be. In the internet, free-content age, people don’t want to pay for real news. Those of both the left and the right should agree on the value of an independent press that does its job. I don’t believe, however, that the Foxians do so care.