Will Crosscut survive?

read “How’s Crosscut doing?”

A report from the publisher, David Brewster.

Crosscut is a treasure.  None of the other Seattle media  can rival David Brewster’s leadership and, especially his commitment to quality.  Crosscut is  the place to go for ANY in depth discussion of Seattle … whether that means the future of the UW, multiculturalism, the music scene or the personalities of our new tech based elite.  These techie billionaires have intellectual roots shared with Brewster’s own.

Crosscut, however, has has a difficult time.  Brewster’s initial profit making venture failed so he turned to a non profit model roughly similar to NPR.  That model is not working, I suggest, because of a lack of leading edge writing in Crosscut.

A few weeks ago, I was very hopeful.  Crosscut offered a home to Josh Feit and Erika Barnett.  These political reporters sought refuge with Crosscut after their site, Publicola, ran out of funding.  I was excited.  Josh Erika seemed to em to offer exactly the cutting edge Crosscut lacked.  That potential is now lost as Publicola is returning as new venture associated with Seattle’s glossy magazine, Seattle Metro.     Despite Seattle Metro’s glossy pages and an advertising budget driven by selling stuff to the 1%, the magazine has had some memorable political writing .  Even Seattle Metro’s food blog, the Nosh Pit, shows a willingness to do more than cater to the excessively affluent.  Something great could emerge from this new partnership.

In the meantime, as David is writing, Crosscut’s NPR model is not doing well.  Under the guise of “summer hours,” cuts in staff are planned for the coming months.  Grants are running out and the citizens contribute model is not (yet) as good for a website as it has been for radio and TV stations.

What current media rival Crossscut?  Really none.  Both the PI and the Times have great writers, but their work is lost in the lack of editorial leadership of these two legacy media. The Stranger certainly has superb editorial leadership but the outre personality of Dan Savage limits his paper’s credibility.  Seattle Metro and Seattle Magazine’s association with the Beamer-Nordstrom crowd has the same incredulity effect on “the rest of us” that the Stranger’s sex obsession likely has on the 1%.

This  still leaves a huge opportunity for Crosscut to find itself.   My own version of this fantasy would see writers like Eli Sanders, Dominic Holden, and  David Goldstein from the Stranger writing for the better, younger mix of readers their talents would bring to Crosscut.  Maybe the current financial straights at Crosscut or the new opportunistic at Publicola will make something happen!





Comments are closed.