These sort of posts almost inevitably get misconstrued as me wanting The Seattle Times to go away. I don’t. More voices are better. More journalism is better. But I think that given The Seattle Times’ turning away from the web, their continuous pissing away their credibility, and the general state of newspapers, it’s not very out there to assume that their day will come. So this post is looking at some of the things that might happen if they went away.
The first, and I think scariest option, is nothing. It’s possible that given the state of the newspaper industry that nobody would want to put out a daily in Seattle. The money making pieces of the newspaper have already been made less so with craigslist and with sports blogs. So perhaps we would just lose the reporting that we get now.
But I think it’s more likely that something would replace them. There is already a lot of solid local reporting on the ground in Seattle. From West Seattle Blog to Capitol Hill Seattle to the blogs of the weekly papers, you can get decent, current, reporting today outside of a daily. It’s no substitute, but I suspect those things would step up, and other online voices would fill any gap left behind.
However, I’m also not convinced that in the absence of The Seattle Times would mean the end of a daily in Seattle. I think it makes a certain amount of sense that one of our local millionaires or billionaires would take it on as an act of good will. They could either buy The Seattle Times outright or they could start their own paper if it went under. This paper might manage to be even more pro-corporate friendly than The Seattle Times currently, if that’s possible.
Another couple of possibilities I’ve been thinking about are a bit more out there. I could envision either The Stranger expanding to a daily if there was no daily or the newspaper guild starting a paper like they did during the strike. I don’t know if there would be any will to make these things happen, but I don’t think they’re outside the realm of the possible.
I hope that we have The Seattle Times for a good long while, and I’m rooting for it to get better as a paper. But it seems reasonable to think about what happens if they go under.