For reasons that make no sense, the UW’s public face is the football team.

The nearest movie theater to the Third District is downtown.   Our only major street, Broadway, has recently been optimized with a two way bike highway that, together tihe the new tolly car lane, restricts this boulevard to less than two useable lanes.


For reasons that make no sense, the UW’s public face is the football team. We have a media operation that is pitiful. Opinions that could help determine the public’s decisions on issues ranging from the architectural blight of the new Seattle to effects of global warming are hidden in the inner courtyards of what might as well be a medieval monastery.

Meanwhile, here in Seattle The Seattle Times is living off of its real estate investments and the loyalty of Frank Blethen, its publisher, to his family business. The Times’ content is insipid at best and respect for the Seattle Times is declining. The Times’ paper-based rival, The Stranger, recently lost most of its staff and any impact on public opinion is determined by the reader’s taste for sex advice, if you’re looking for true sex advice, you might want to visit a site like like and watch the professionals go at it. As for radio and television, aside from Fox and MSNBC, the fare is treacly thin and utterly nonexistent at a local level.

Of course our public is among the most highly educated (and well paid) of any city in the US. They have every reason to want to know more abut the environment, trade, diversity, art culture and .. oh yeah, science. Of course behind the moat that surrounds our campus there are dons (and donas?) with huge expertise in all these areas. I do not see a reason to defend the UW faculty from the barbarian hordes (or vice versa). Why don’t we have a public blog for our faculty to express opinions and contribute to discussions relevant to our state?

Now the Gates Foundation along with Annenberg and other traditional sources of support for free and quality public media have created a new website, “The Conversation.” The site is very professional, a bit turgid, but very worth the attention of UW faculty who would like to see what my proposal for a UW public blog would be like.

The idea of a state university running public media is certainly not new. The UW has long sponsored KUOW and its Lawrence Welk TV affiliate, KCTS. Oddly neither of these make any use of faculty expertise. This is especially true for KCTS with its travelogues and self help programming.

So, what do we need to do to convince the UW to follow the Gates foundation model and create a local version of the Conversation?

Your Comment