WNC Joins Global Press/News Councils Alliance

The Washington News Council has joined the Alliance of Independent Press Councils of Europe. We’re not in Europe, you say?

True, but neither are several other press councils in AIPCE: Botswana, Israel, Peru, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Zambia, among others. It’s a big tent, this group, and their numbers are growing. (For more details, see What is a Press Council?) [Read more...]


From newsroom to dive bar

Most laid off journalists have turned to public relations, book writing, freelancing, or other pursuits equally fitting of the English major crowd.

Not Mike Lewis. He’s spending his days pouring beer at a bar, coming home at 3 or 4 in the morning. And he’s doing it by choice.

Mike Lewis at the Streamline Tavern

Former Seattle P-I columnist Lewis’ new life might represent the largest career shift a local journalist has taken in the past couple of years. Lewis, along with three business partners, bought The Streamline Tavern on Lower Queen Anne after the P-I imploded last year.

Since August, Lewis has been working to turn around a bar that had been on its last legs. He’s traded newsroom journalism banter for conversation with the Streamline regulars, many of whom have been frequenting the place for 25 years. [Read more...]


The Orwells: Britain’s top political writing prizes

LONDON, ENGLAND – Martin Moore, director of Media Standards Trust, suggested we meet at Starbucks on Victoria Street, near Westminster Abbey. My Seattle office is just down the street from Starbucks headquarters, I told him, so that would be fitting.

Martin had invited me to attend the Orwell Prize Awards Ceremony at Church House, Dean’s Yard, Westminster. The prizes, which might be compared to the Pulitzer Prizes in the U.S., are given to a journalist, a book author and – just since last year – to a blogger.

George Orwell

The Orwell Prizes have become Britain’s most prestigious awards for political writing.
About 400 people gathered for the presentations. The winners are kept secret until they are announced.

The room was filled with journalists from all over Great Britain. This year, 212 books were entered for the Book Prize, 85 journalists for the Journalism Prize, and 164 bloggers for the Blog Prize. These were pared down by a distinguished group of judges to a “shortlist” of 6 books, 7 journalists and 6 bloggers. Most of the shortlisters were there, hoping to accept in person if they won.

[Read more...]


Can Marty Riemer conquer podcasting?

Marty Riemer and Jodi Brothers

On April 1st, Marty Riemer entered the brave new world of podcasting.

The longtime Seattle radio personality didn’t voluntarily switch from traditional radio to the podcast sphere. He found himself unceremoniously booted from KMTT-The Mountain last October. But Riemer, along with on-air partner Jodi Brothers, is now embracing the chance to experiment with an emerging medium that he believes could one day completely replace commercial radio.

“The future of radio is podcasting,” Riemer said.

[Read more...]


Who will hold the news media accountable?

OXFORD UNIVERSITY, ENGLAND – Is there a need for media accountability in the chaotic new world of online journalism? If so, who will hold the media accountable?

In-house ombudsmen? Outside news and press councils? Independent media critics?

The “blogosphere”? All of the above?

Those were among the existential questions at the Organization of News Ombudsmen’s annual convention at Oxford University from May 12-15. The gathering was hosted by the Reuters Center for the Study of Journalism, headquartered at Oxford.

I was invited to join a panel: “Press Councils and Ombudsmen: A New Partnership?”

[Read more...]


Searching for happiness outside the newsroom

Heidi Dietrich

In the past few years, myself and hundreds of other journalists in the Puget Sound area have left the newsroom behind. And oddly enough, we’re pretty happy with the life change.

Many of us did not choose this career shift, but instead were the victims of layoffs triggered by the nationwide implosion of the print news industry. I’d worked at the Puget Sound Business Journal for the past seven years when I found myself laid off from the paper last May. I didn’t expect it and had no immediate answer for what I wanted to do next.

Once I moved beyond the initial loss, however, I embraced the chance to try something new. The past year has been one of the most interesting, unstable, and enjoyable since I left journalism graduate school in 2002. I’m not sorry I’m no longer in the Puget Sound Business Journal newsroom.

By and large, the journalists I reached out to echo these sentiments. We don’t mourn the careers we left behind. We all miss elements of a newsroom – the sharp wit of colleagues, the excitement of covering a breaking story – but that doesn’t necessarily mean we want to go back.

Here are a handful of the people who are embracing life beyond a newspaper. [Read more...]


Are We ALL Journalists Now? Who decides?

A prescient book was published in 2007: We’re All Journalists Now. The author was Scott Gant, a Harvard Law School graduate, former counsel for The New Republic magazine, and now an attorney in Washington, D.C., where he practices constitutional and media law.

I bought Gant’s book when it came out and liked it so much I called him during a visit to D.C. a couple of years ago. We met for coffee and talked for more than an hour about the increasingly perplexing questions: Who is a journalist these day, and who gets to decide?

[Read more...]


Flynn’s Harp on Transparency and TAO Seal

Mike Flynn is former president and publisher of the Puget Sound Business Journal, who now blogs regularly. His latest blog is at http://www.emikeflynn.com/blog/ It’s a good read and insightful take on the Transparency issue. (To that point, Mike is a former member of the Washington News Council’s board of directors.)


Shellee Hale to appeal court decision

Shellee Hale, the Bellevue blogger (see item below) who was ruled “not a journalist” by a New Jersey appellate court, is appealing to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Hale contends that she is a working journalist and thus entitled to protect the confidentiality of her sources. Her case raises vital questions about the definition of “journalist” – a matter that is certainly up in the air these days. [Read more...]