One time I saw someone reading one of my stories on the bus. Another day, the person cashing my check recognized my name. And once, one of my daughter’s classmates brought one of my stories in for current events. So I definitely have had at least three readers in the years before I learned to track them online. That I can verify anyway.
Now most of us — including me — get our news digitally and those of us in the media are hyper-curious about our audience and how we can serve them better. To be honest, we debate this a lot at Crosscut, partly because our readers seem to be bifurcated.
Some come to our nonprofit news site for deeply reported, in-depth news, analysis and arts coverage. Others are looking for more basic information to help them navigate their world and because they appreciate that we don’t have a paywall. (By the way: There is a paywall. It’s just invisible and voluntary. Many of our readers pay for the journalism we do. Thank you for that).
And now I’ve broken my own rule and I’ve meandered and taken more than five paragraphs to get to the point of this essay.
This legislative session, we’re making a renewed effort to make sure both kinds of readers have the information they want and need about state government. Our journalists are writing interesting, in-depth news and analyses about the session. And we’ve created a handy bill tracker to help you easily understand what’s happening in Olympia with quick summaries of important legislation, including links to the stories we’ve written about those bills.
Despite this being a “short session” of the Legislature, lawmakers are considering some important and interesting ideas, from making it easier to increase housing density in most of Washington’s cities to more police accountability, a new alert system for missing Indigenous people and a proposal to make pickleball the state sport.
We are keeping the bill tracker updated weekly until the session ends March 10. And we’re adding new bills as we write more stories or something new catches our journalists’ eyes. Watch for our special legislative newsletter, which will be sent to subscribers to our elections newsletter a few times over the next few months. If you are not a subscriber, please sign up.
We would appreciate your help with our bill tracker. Please send me an email if you know of other bills we should be watching. And do let us know if you find the tracker easy to use and whether it includes the information you are looking for. I enjoy hearing from our readers, even if you’re writing to complain about something. It’s nice to be reminded we are no longer sending our words out into the void.