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Some new approaches here

Crosscut Week in Review: A new column from Vancouver, B.C., and sharing content.

It's an August Northwest weekend that may actually feel like summer. So maybe it's a good time to talk about some of the different things we have done this past week and are doing this weekend.

First, on Thursday, we introduced a new column that will appear regularly from Vancouver, British Columbia, that we think will be of interest throughout the region. It's by Peter Ladner, the founder of the "Business in Vancouver" newspaper and a former Vancouver City Councillor. There are a many shared interests throughout the Cascadia region, and Ladner's first column dealt with developments in urban biking in B.C.'s biggest city.

It was fun, and perhaps illustrative of the regional connections, that while Ladner wrote about plans for a system of publicly owned bikes that would be available for a small fee, Crosscut's Knute Berger, while writing about Mark Twain and local foods, found an interview Twain gave to a Portland's Sunday Oregonian in 1895, advocating a publicly owned system of bicycles as part of public transportation there. Berger wrote about it here.

We don't have a set schedule at this point on Ladner's column. We'd be happy to hear your thoughts on the additional Vancouver coverage.

As we start the weekend, we are publishing "Seattle is big for new media initiatives," from another non-profit organization, the Washington News Council, that is representative of another trend among online sites. There is a good deal more sharing of content among various sites. It isn't confined to non-profits by any means (SeattlePI.com has been a real leader) but it seems to me it's particularly appropriate among groups focused on serving the public good. The exchanges are usually at modest or no cost. This is one of a number of articles from the news council that we have been pleased to publish.

We are also excited to be publishing on Sunday (Aug. 15) a major story on cruise ship waste from Seattle-based InvestigateWest, a promising non-profit news organization launched by journalists from the old Seattle Post-Intelligencer. It's our first chance to publish one of their reports, and it's quite different for us to post a major item on a Sunday.The conventional wisdom and our own observations indicate that weekend readership is generally relatively low for online publications.

We will be watching to see how readership for the report goes Sunday and in succeeding days. I also would welcome hearing comments on your expectations for weekend publication online.

Here are a few of the other stories that received considerable attention this week:

"Should Seattle allow big corporate signage on its skyscrapers?" by Mark Hinshaw. The last I heard, Hinshaw had been contacted by at least two radio stations and three TV stations that wanted to talk about his story.

"Obama, like Bush, seems to be stifling salmon science," by Daniel Jack Chasan.

"Searching for the best burger: It's all about the hunt," by Hugo Kugiya.

"Seattle, the 21st century bungalow city," by Knute Berger.

"A la carte government: Seattle looks to serve up more taxes," by Jordan Royer.

And, finally, speaking of the Northwest's too brief summer, there was "Having a summer place that you know," by Anthony B. Robinson.

Enjoy the weekend. Thanks for reading.

Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at Joe.Copeland@crosscut.com.


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