OLD Media Moves

P-I's Microsoft reporter won't be joining online venture

March 6, 2009

Eli Sanders of The Stranger, an alternative newspaper in Seattle, writes that Joseph Tartakoff, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter who covers Microsoft, has turned down the opportunity to go work for the paper’s Web-only operations should it shutter its print side.

Sanders writes, “While all of this sorts out, here’s something that Tartakoff’s decision is recalling for me. While I was reporting this piece, I heard about how two former P-I tech writers, John Cook and Todd Bishop, pitched the Hearst hierarchy, way back in the summer of 2007, on launching an online news publication that would focus on the Northwest and essentially be built around Cook and Bishop’s tech blogs—blogs that were early entrants into the local tech blogging field and had developed a certain following. Hearst wasn’t interested in the concept and so Cook and Bishop left the P-I and started TechFlash (‘Seattle’s Technology News Source’).

“The easy moral of this story: Fail to appreciate the ideas and talents of your most web-savvy reporters and they’ll leave you. But here’s another way of looking at it: Into the void that Cook and Bishop created by their departure stepped young Joseph Tartakoff, who quickly built up a Microsoft blog that, as that leaked memo pointedly noted, ‘eclipsed the previous [traffic] record for any P-I blog that had been held by his predecessor, Todd Bishop.’

“Regina Hackett, the P-I‘s art critic for 27 years (and not, apparently, on the list), was talking to me a while back and used the Cook-Bishop-Tartakoff story as a sort of parable.

“‘That was humbling for me personally,’ she said, meaning the process of watching Cook and Bishop being successfully replaced with someone very young, very talented, and very web-savvy. ‘Who’s indispensable then?‘”

Read more here.

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