We must find a way to fund quality journalism or face the perils of an attempted democracy without it. The transition from a newspaper company to an online-only publication at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer may teach us a great deal of what it takes to survive and thrive. I hope an online only P-I can succeed, grow and help us learn what we will need to know to take us forward. A future where journalism continues to falter as it is doing across America right now is downright perilous to our democracy.
Ruth Teichroeb, investigative reporter
I write this having spent the day clearing out my desk and doing media interviews about our demise. Seattle is losing a scrappy newspaper that fought for those who had no voice: kids in foster care and locked up at juvie, developmentally disabled adults stuck in substandard group homes and homeless folks on the street. The community is losing editors who said yes to stories that took a long time and made Hearst attorneys shudder at the risks. We are losing a newsroom of great journalists who thought nothing of trudging five miles through a snowstorm to put out the newspaper in December when the rest of the city was at a standstill. Seattle is losing a piece of its soul.
James Wallace, aerospace reporter
For the last 12 years, I covered the aerospace industry for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the paper, through the Hearst Corp., allowed me to travel extensively internationally. You can’t cover Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, defense and space companies—the aerospace industry—from a desk in Seattle. These are global companies. It’s a global beat. You have to go to the air shows in Paris and London, to the key industry events in Europe and in Asia. Networking allowed not only the development of my best sources and contacts that were critical in breaking many important stories, but I planted the P-I flag with top industry leaders and our paper became recognized around the world for its excellence in aerospace coverage. Without that financial commitment, many of those stories would never have been done by the P-I. Whoever follows me for the online-only operation won’t have those financial resources and the in-depth reporting of an important beat will go missing.
Brad Wong, reporter
When a big news story broke at the Seattle P-I, it was an incredible scene. All of us—editors, reporters, photographers, researchers, online producers and layout artists—would essentially jump into the same boat and row as hard as we could. We would chase, question, investigate, think, write and edit. Often, in a matter of hours, we would produce some magnificent and memorable journalism. And we would start the process over the next day.
Molly Yanity, sports reporter
The overwhelming feeling for me is sadness. I hate to be selfish, but I feel like I’ve worked the majority of my life for the kind of career I have right now and it just makes me profoundly sad that it is being taken away. I am disappointed the online venture is cutting out so much sports coverage. Our sports blogs get amazing traffic and, well, is there really anything more local than your local sports team? Maybe that’s just sour grapes, but I haven’t heard an explanation that makes sense. To see the talent and experience walk out of this newsroom tonight will break my heart. It just seems like an awful waste in a time when every mind should be utilized.