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In journalism, medium raw is the new normal

Technology is still serving as an industry disrupter, but we've gotten used to the upheaval. In fact, we're starting to like it.
Crosscut contributor and Sportspress Northwest co-founder Art Thiel

Crosscut contributor and Sportspress Northwest co-founder Art Thiel KPLU

Editor's note: Starting Monday we'll be bringing you more of Art Thiel. Look for his articles and exclusive original videos twice a week on Crosscut.  

When I get quizzed about the future of professional journalism, I used to tell people that I didn't know whether we were in the first year, fifth year or 10th year of some unknowable industry upchuck. But having been part of the transition for a couple of years as an entrepreneur at Sportspress Northwest, I know better now. I know that medium raw is the new normal. Technology assures steady upheaval.

That no longer bothers me. The biz has all the volatility of Greek Row on Friday night, without the cops. But to mourn the instability is to wish that college kids didn't drink so much. C'mon.

Guess what? Many of the besotted frat boys and sorority girls survived to become today's world-shapers. They made it. So will journalism.

Which is why it pleases me to be a contributor to Crosscut. The outfit has survived five years. Do not underestimate that feat. Perseverance in the maelstrom is proof of the hardiness of breed. The investors, contributors, supporters and journalists who share David Brewster's vision and passion have done a good thing in what is known in the world of online journalism as a long time.

Crosscut is a place where everyone who participates intuitively knows the value of gathering together thinkers and doers of the greater to make sparks, then heat, then light. And eventually, money.

The breakthrough for sustaining quality online journalism on a local/regional level is going to happen soon, somewhere. All the ingredients are in this region. The new publisher, Greg Shaw, is pulling them together, knowing that whatever fresh forms are taken will adapt to the technology, needs and desires of a marketplace that has never lost its desire for good thinking written well.

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Art Thiel is co-founder of Sportspressnw.com, a former sports columnist for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and author of the 2003 regional best seller about the Seattle Mariners, Out of Left Field.


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Comments:

Posted Thu, Oct 4, 7:32 a.m. Inappropriate

Great post.

I like the thought about gathering people together. The next step in the evolution could be face-to-face events. Town Hall does this, but the price is pretty steep for regular attendance. Something cheaper and less formal would build community.

Posted Thu, Oct 4, 8:13 a.m. Inappropriate

Nice to see you here, Art. Although I doubt they'll let you write about sports (somehow I don't think most Crosscut editors or readers know the difference between a knuckle-curve and a Laffer Curve), you've more than gotten your feet wet in new media to bring inside knowledge to the discussion. The way we get our information IS changing, as the print media have been learning the hard way.

I'll keep commenting at SPNW (in the hope that you'll do the right thing and come to my way of thinking on all things, of course), but it'll be interesting to check in here and read you in a different milieu.

Good move, Knute.

Posted Thu, Oct 4, 11:21 a.m. Inappropriate

As a regular Crosscut reader and a longtime Art Thiel fan, more of Art on Crosscut is a very good thing, no matter what he writes about.

GBC

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