“Election Week nearly killed me,” he says, flatly. “I think I held my own. I was literally working all fucking day and all fucking night to do that.” Still, he concedes that there is room for improvement: “The quality of writing has been better. There’s typos in the stories. There’s comments on the site about every typo we have. Someone will leave a comment saying ‘hire a copy editor.’ We have no money. We’re running for our lives here. I don’t know why people think we’re a fully staffed newsroom with a copy desk rather than just one guy with a laptop running around town half-crazed.”
His work with the Post-Globe has brought Murakami recognition from commentators both far and near. (“I got interviewed by some guy in France.”) But the publicity hasn’t translated into material support. The biggest individual donation Murakami had received as of September was something like $500. “Our business plan up to now is the same as a homeless man on the side of the street, with a sign saying ‘Give us money,’” admits Murakami. “It’s not working.”
He has vague plans for courting donors and advertisers, and mentions an impending scheme whereby readers would pay to support the sort of news they want to read. Eventually, he hopes the site will be cooperatively owned by the local community. But for now, his ambitions far exceed his resources—a matter of no small frustration.
“All these months that I’ve been trying to hang on, I really thought that somebody in Seattle would say ‘Hey, this is a good idea, I’ll try to help,’” he says. “But that hasn’t happened.” He hasn’t drawn a steady paycheck in months. And although he’s in a better financial situation than some of his former colleagues—Murakami is unmarried, childless, and free from significant debt—he realizes he can’t continue like this forever.
“It’s weird, ’cause if I was sane I’d quit this shit and do something else,” he says. “But what’s going on makes me want to be a reporter more than ever before. It’s so essential, and I want to be a part of it. I want to be a reporter so much.”
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