Seattle, perhaps more than any other American city, epitomizes the promise and challenges of American journalism at the local level.
In the last few years, it has experienced both a sharp loss of traditional news resources and an exciting rise in new journalistic enterprises and inventive collaborations between traditional and emerging media (see Appendix for more about these sites). A New America Foundation case study of Seattle’s news ecosystem describes it as “a digital community still in transition.” A new, vibrant media scene is emerging. But it also may not take hold.
Consider first the contraction. The city has lost two daily newspapers in the past four years. The King County Journal, which served suburban communities to the east and south of Seattle, closed its daily newspaper in January 2007. About half of its journalists were kept on to work at sister weekly and twice-weekly suburban newspapers. Only 10 newsroom jobs went away, but 40,000 households lost their daily newspaper.