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Award-winning Crosscut launches new Community Idea Lab

Crosscut picks up seven (count 'em) SPJ awards - and launches a new Community Idea Lab to energize public debate.

Two things: First, congratulations to all the Crosscut writers — and there were a lot of them — recently honored by the Northwest Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) for their outstanding work.

Let's start with Crosscut founder David Brewster and sports columnist Art Thiel, who took first place honors in the Commentary and Sports Reporting categories, respectively. Olympia reporter John Stang snagged the second spot in Commentary for his analyses of the state legislature, and a third in Sports for his two-part series on roller derby. Hugo Kugiya scored in the Sports category too, a second-place finish for his story about the Russell Wilson brand. Knute Berger won second place in Business writing for his expose on West Seattle’s Whole Foods controversy. And a team of Crosscut writers — and interns, let's not forget the interns! — took third place in Spot News reporting for coverage of last November’s local elections.

Thanks to every one of our award-winning writers, and to the SPJ for recognizing your unparalled dedication and hard work and prodigious talent.

Switching gears, I also want to invite you all to the debut of our Community Idea Lab — Wednesday, June 18, 6:30-8:30pm at Town Hall. What is Community Idea Lab? It's a concerted effort on our part to pump new energy and ideas — your ideas — into what currently passes for public debate about pressing regional issues. We're looking for all those "what ifs" you toss around at dinner parties or over split-shot Americanos. You know, those inspired ideas you get all jazzed about and then go, alas, nowhere?

Well, bring them on. We want to hear all of them, and pick out the coolest ones and take them out for a very public spin. (Meaning: You present your idea to a panel of expert judges, which critiques it — in a gently ruthless way — then let the audience vote a winner.)

CIL, as we like to call it, is one way in which we're trying to focus the community around local issues that need our collective attention. There are just way too many urgent items on the civic to-do list (education, transportation, political gridlock, economic inequality, gun control) to sit here on the sidelines and lob grenades. Fun as that is. Crosscut itself isn't advocating for any particular idea or point of view. We're advocating more ideas and more points of view.

The first civic issue we're tackling in Community Idea Lab is this: How does the Puget Sound area avoid the tech backlash currently dogging the Bay Area? How can we use our local tech boom as an asset, luring even more high-tech companies to the region and encouraging them to get deeply involved in the community? Obviously, ideas from this CIL can be applied beyond the tech sector.

So what are you waiting for? Use the box on the right to submit your CIL idea. Now! And purchase tickets for the event here.

And thank you all, as always, for your support.

Mary Bruno is the Editor-in-Chief of Crosscut.


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