Why Crosscut is sunsetting its opinion section

Crosscut isn't abandoning opinions, just finding a new way for you to hear them.

KCTS 9 and Crosscut office building

Cascade Public Media's office building in Lower Queen Anne is home to Crosscut and KCTS 9. (Genna Martin/Crosscut)

As I settled into my role as executive editor at Crosscut, I knew there were several priorities that needed to be attended to. Near the top of my list was the opinion section.

Opinionated writing has been a fixture of the organization since its inception in 2007. The goal, then and now, has been to engage our community in conversation regarding important issues.

That is particularly important for a newsroom like ours. As a public media outlet, funded in part with public money, it is our responsibility to represent the community we serve as fully as possible.

But we need to find a more effective way to bring a greater diversity of voices and perspectives to these issues. This is why I have decided to end the opinion section as we know it and to begin, in earnest, the work of building something new.

I personally appreciate the effort that has been put into the section. I’ve said that one of the things that attracted me to Crosscut was the talented journalists working here, and that includes the team behind the opinion section, especially associate opinion editor Mason Bryan.

I also want to acknowledge Knute Berger’s work. He has been a huge contributor to this section and part of Crosscut from the beginning. His insightful writing will continue to be a part of Crosscut, hopefully for years to come.

The decision to transition away from an opinion section has not been easy, but I think it’s something we need to do as we evolve and grow. Some parts of our community do not feel heard by the media. We want to listen harder and help amplify those voices.

So, what will happen next? That’s the question many are asking. I have formed an internal committee consisting of journalists from both the opinion and engagement teams to design the new section. We want to develop a new way of engaging with our communities as we pivot. The main thing we’re wondering: How can we get more underrepresented voices onto our pages?

We’re looking at all models of nonprofit public journalism and how they go about it. We will bring all ideas to the table, so we can figure out the best solution for Crosscut moving forward.

What I ask from you right now is time — time to develop and design what is next. I am hoping that by the spring of 2022, we will launch our new section. The voices of our communities are important, and we will continue to strive to bring more of them to light.

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