OLD Media Moves

Surviving the demise of the P-I

March 11, 2009

Keith Seinfeld of KPLU in Seattle, a National Public Radio station, writes about some journalists — notably two business reporters — got out of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, whose demise is imminent, to survive on the Internet.

Seinfeld writes, “‘You do have to pay journalists, at some point,’ says John Cook, a former business reporter at the P-I who left to start a technology news Web site, called TechFlash. ‘You do need to make money doing it, right? When I was thinking about going out completely on my own as an entrepreneur and doing this all on my own, I was afraid of getting sued and buckling under those pressures.’

“Cook found a patron, by becoming a unit of the Puget Sound Business Journal. Even though he receives a salary, he’s also part of the new world of blog-style journalism. He shares his work in progress, maybe several times a day. Readers see a story unfold — and they participate by adding their comments.

“‘I’ve done some of the more hard-hitting, journalistic stories of my career in the last three or four months,’ he says. ‘I’ve covered stock frauds I’ve covered a company in Bellevue that was basically ripping off youth sports leagues. And the great thing about the social media element of it is I would tell a piece of it, and then comments would just flood in — ‘Hey John, you’re missing this part.’ — and then you follow that.’

“This is a big revolution. In the world of blog-style writing, reporters don’t always have an editor scrutinize their work. Instead, they may count on their audience sending corrections, so they can adjust as they go. Mistakes are fixed in public.”

Read more here. Cook started TechFlash with Todd Bishop, also a former Post-Intelligencer business journalist.

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