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In journalism, medium raw is the new normal

Crosscut contributor and Sportspress Northwest co-founder Art Thiel Credit: 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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