Crosscut, 2015 edition: Fasten your seatbelts

A new design, Community Idea Lab tackles education reform, guest curators for The Weekend List and anthropologists in Olympia.
Crosscut archive image.

You heard it here first!

A new design, Community Idea Lab tackles education reform, guest curators for The Weekend List and anthropologists in Olympia.

Can a carbon tax rescue public education? Will the tech boom price working-class families out of Seattle? Will unfettered growth spoil the character of our neighborhoods and the health of our environment? Can we bridge the divides (partisan, racial, geographic, socioeconomic, etc.) that stymie progress on education, transportation, climate change, homelessness, tax reform and other important issues?

These are some of the questions Crosscut will be thinking and writing about in 2015. Some of the questions we hope you’ll be thinking and talking about this year too. To inspire and provoke you to do just that, we have a few surprises. Four, actually. Though there will likely be more down the road.  

First, we’ve redesigned our website, freshening the look and feel and upgrading its performance and story-telling possibilities.

The new design will telegraph our new focus on three broad topic areas — Politics, Culture and Technology — from which, we believe, transformative ideas and leaders will emerge. The new design is responsive, meaning it will look good on whatever device you choose to view it on: phone, tablet, desktop. No app required. (The site, of course, will always look its best on the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc. so we do urge you to update your browser of choice.) Also with the launch of the new comes the debut of a new, more dynamic Super Troll. Our familiar curation of the most compelling and quirky Northwest news will now include short “Clicker” items and compile continuously to keep you current all day long.  

Redesigns are always risky change and all. We hope you’ll give this one a chance. We look forward to your feedback (positive and negative). In fact, we’re counting on it and expect to modify the new site in response.   

We are also experimenting this year with some new approaches to covering state politics. Bank on solid news and analysis from our team of veteran political reporters: John Stang, Knute Berger, Ben Anderstone and Robert Mak. As a way to inform even more Washingtonians about developments during this historic legislative session — and also to expand Crosscut’s reach — we’re now syndicating our Olympia coverage, distributing it to independent news outlets around the state, including KBCS radio in Bellevue, the Kitsap Sun and the Skagit Valley Herald.

For a unique perspective on the culture of state politics, we’ve teamed up with anthropology professor David Price at St. Martin’s University in Lacey. Dr. Price has dispatched his team of advanced anthropology and journalism students to observe Olympia’s various denizens and tribes in their natural habitat, recording rituals and protocols, analyzing relationships and hierarchies, etc. helping us better understand whether and how the state legislators we so frequently complain about are actually doing their jobs. “Field Notes from Olympia” is coming soon.

In the culture department, we'll be inviting guest artists to contribute their picks to The Weekend List, our guide to the best of the Seattle area's arts scene. Choreographer Olivier Wevers of Whim W'Him was our first guest curator. Next week, we'll be tapping — and profiling — visual artist Rodrigo Valenzuela.

Lastly, our second Community Idea Lab happens on February 24 at, and in partnership with the Museum of History and Industry. (Get your tickets now.) The question we've asked the community to tackle this time: How can we make education more student-focused, personalized and community-centered? We've got more than 60 ideas and counting. We'll be winnowing that pile down to five in the coming week.

Those five finalists will present their brilliant ideas before a panel of education experts — and the audience — on the 24th at MOHAI. Following the event, each finalist will be paired with a team of professionals, recruited by MOHAI, to help polish those ideas. Crosscut will track and report on their progress, and hopefully watch those five flashes of brilliance turn into actual innovations that rock our education system.

Bottom line: We're pretty excited about the year ahead. Hope you come along and give us the benefit of your thoughts and insights.


Please support independent local news for all.

We rely on donations from readers like you to sustain Crosscut's in-depth reporting on issues critical to the PNW.


About the Authors & Contributors

Mary Bruno

Mary Bruno

Mary was Crosscut's Editor-in-Chief and Interim Publisher. In more than 25 years as a journalist, she has worked as a writer, editor and editorial director for a variety of print and web publications, including Newsweek, Seattle Weekly and Her book, An American River, is an environmental memoir about growing up along New Jersey's Passaic.