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Born of P-I's shutdown, PostGlobe to stop

The local, nonprofit web site announces that it will shut down after two years of operation.

The Seattle PostGlobe's logo

The Seattle PostGlobe's logo

Somehow, the Seattle PostGlobe site kept going for more than two years after the March 2009 closure of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Maybe it was simply the resourcefulness and dedication of journalists that allowed the news site, born of the Hearst Corp.'s shutdown of Seattle's liberal newspaper, to survive until now.

PostGlobe co-founder Sally Deneen announced today (July 29) that the site is closing.

The news site ran largely on volunteer work by editors, photographers, Web folks, and writers (I was one of those involved for a few months in 2009). Some kind folks were good enough to contribute, which was about enough to keep the site on the internet. With donations through the web site Spot.Us, the PostGlobe managed to pay for at least two special reporting projects. But, especially as time went on, the reporting was almost entirely volunteer. Even so Kery Murakami, the spearhead of the operation, often managed to break the news in Seattle's tough 2009 mayoral race.

When the talented Murakami left for a job, he handed over to some others the keys to the office (figuratively, but there was one for a time thanks to the generosity of KCTS), and the work fell principally to a handful of extremely capable journalists, with two of the most involved being freelancer Sally Deneen and the P-I's former foreign editor, Larry Johnson, and Chris Beringer, a former assistant managing editor at the paper. They managed to innovate with some smart features that added more material from other sites, aggregrated very good content from scattered ex-PI journalists' work elsewhere, and posted some original reporting even as the pool of other volunteers dwindled away. The volunteers had to teach themselves a variety of web publishing and social media skills along the way. But, as the other key people keeping the site going took jobs, it eventually got down to Deneen doing the editing, with film critic Bill White posting a heavy volume of often-fascinating reviews.

In an interview this afternoon, Deneen said people shouldn't draw any lessons about the future of online journalism, calling the PostGlobe "an anomaly" of a site that it "really was a project to help bridge the gap from the trauma of the closure of the P-I."

She added, "We didn't have experienced fund raisers. Because what are we? A bunch of reporters." She noted that while some news sites have heavy financing from private investors to get started, the PostGlobe was at the opposite end of the spectrum and "started with nothing" in a non-profit arrangement. 

Deneen does a nice job in a PostGlobe story of wrapping up the site's "eventful two years — sometimes fun, sometimes a mountain of work, but always worthwhile." She wrote that "we will attempt to keep the site up for archival value."

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


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