Tom Paulson launching global health blog for NPR

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson

Former Seattle Post-Intelligencer health and science reporter Tom Paulson will be breaking new ground with a global health and development blog for National Public Radio.

Paulson will be working at local NPR affiliate KPLU during an 18-month trial run for the global health blog. He believes there’s no better place for the experiment than Seattle.

“There are hundreds of organizations working on global health and development in this region,” Paulson said. “It’s really amazing what’s happening here.”

The blog, which is slated to launch in late July, is part of a larger NPR effort called The Argo Project. Launched last year, the project selected 12 cities around the country to start topic-specific blogs. Boston’s NPR affiliate, for example, will tackle health policy, while Philadelphia will cover music. The entire project has an estimated budget of $3 million.

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WNC Awards Two $2,000 Scholarships

The Washington News Council awarded two $2,000 scholarships to students planning careers in communications. The scholarships are named after the late Dick Larsen and Herb Robinson, both longtime editors at The Seattle Times.

WNC President John Hamer, who worked with Larsen and Robinson for many years on The Times’ editorial board, presented the scholarships during a June 24 reception at the WNC office, located above the Pyramid Alehouse in Seattle.

The 2010 WNC Dick Larsen Scholarship winner is:

Peter Sessum, 38, a junior at the University of Washington who is studying journalism. He is a staff writer for The Daily. He was formerly a student at Edmonds Community College and editor-in-chief of the Triton Review campus newspaper.

Before that, Peter was a liaison officer with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and an international advisor in the poppy-eradication program there.

He is a member of the Asian American Journalists Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

John Hamer & Pete Sessum

In an essay accompanying his scholarship application, Peter wrote:

“Media is the watchdog of the government, but someone needs to watch the watchdog. That is the purpose of the people. As journalists, we should be transparent, accountable and open. And the people should be able to expect that of us. It is the duty of the reporter to inform the people of the issues at hand. Then, the people can make informed decisions.”

The 2010 Herb Robinson Scholarship winner is:

Alexander Herbig, 18, who is graduating from Mountlake Terrace High School and will attend Seattle Pacific University in the fall. He plans to study communications, global development and psychology.

During high school, Alex was a Young Life leader and camp counselor. His senior project was Simply Haiti, which launched two days before the Haitian earthquake and raised $30,000 for a feeding program and earthquake relief. He also was a photojournalist and editorial writer for The Hawkeye school newspaper, and MVP on the junior varsity soccer team.

Alex Herbig & John Hamer

In an essay accompanying his application, Alex wrote:

“I feel as though trust is a journalist’s best friend. Journalists have the ability to twist a story just about any way they want, making the good guy look like the villain or the other way around. Not only that but their stories can create some serious consequences for the person or company in the story. With this power comes the responsibility of the journalist to be trustworthy.”

Scholarships are funded by donations from individuals, foundations and corporations. Since 2000, the WNC has awarded 22 scholarships with a total value of nearly $30,000.

CONTACT: John Hamer, President, WNC – 206.262.9793 (info@wanewscouncil.org)

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Anatomy of The Seattle Times’ Pulitzer Prize

Lori Matsukawa, Suki Dardarian, Kathy Best, and David Boardman. Photo by the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

Who, what, where, when, why and – most importantly – how did The Seattle Times win a 2010 Pulitzer Prize for “Breaking News” for its coverage of the Lakewood police shootings and the Maurice Clemmons manhunt?

Those questions were asked – and well-answered – at the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce first Executive Speaker Series event, “Anatomy of a Pulitzer Prize” on June 22 at The Westin hotel. The Washington News Council was a “promotional partner” for the luncheon, along with the Public Relations Society of America and The Times.

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Amy Rolph hired by Seattlepi.com

Amy Rolph

Seattlepi.com has hired a new writer to replace Monica Guzman.

Amy Rolph, a business reporter for The Daily Herald in Everett, will join the online newspaper’s staff in mid-July. Rolph currently writes for The Storefront, the Herald’s small business blog.

The hire could indicate Hearst’s willingness to keep Seattlepi.com going. A recent story in Crosscut by Bill Richards, found here, questioned the future viability of the site. As reported by Richards, Seattlepi.com’s reporting staff numbers just 17 and the site is not profitable. Hearst had planned to develop its online sites through an e-reading service platform called Skiff, but sold Skiff to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. in mid-June. The sale left some to question Hearst’s future intentions for online sites like Seattlepi.com.

But the addition of 26-year-old Rolph could suggest continued interest by Hearst in maintaining its Seattle presence. Rolph fills an absence left by 27-year-old Guzman, who joined the start-up Intersect in June. Guzman developed and ran Seattlepi.com’s quirky, gossipy Big Blog, and developed a name for herself around town as a social media guru. Last week, Guzman won Seattle Weekly’s award for the town’s “Sexiest Blogger.”

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Xconomy growing, striving for profitability

After a slower than expected start, Xconomy’s Seattle team hopes the next year will bring the tech news site closer to profitability.

In the chain’s Seattle office, recent changes could help the tech site make money. Veteran journalist Greg Huang, who co-founded the Seattle office two years ago with fellow reporter Luke Timmerman, is heading to the chain’s Boston office. Timmerman will remain behind and head up the Seattle office, with new hire Thea Chard joining him.

Luke Timmerman

Chard, a recent graduate of the University of Southern California, worked for a year at the Queen Anne View neighborhood blog – owned by Seattle-based Next Door Media — before taking the job with Xconomy. Timmerman acknowledged that the team chose Chard over other applicants with more experience and higher salary requirements. He added, though, that they selected her because they were impressed with her work at the Queen Anne View.

“In a year, she made it one of the best blogs in the city,” Timmerman said. “She impressed us.”

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The Big Blog changes hands

Humberto Martinez

When Seattleites think of The Big Blog, we think of energetic 20-something Monica Guzman. After all, what would the Seattlepi.com’s Big Blog be without Monica riding the Sound Transit light rail with throngs of young Seattleites in their underwear, joining the flash Glee mob dancing to “Don’t Stop Believing” at Westlake Center, or hosting weekly Big Blog meet-ups at coffee shops around town?

We’re about to find out. As of last week, Guzman is no longer the woman behind The Big Blog banner. She left the popular, chatty Seattlepi.com blog to join a company called Intersect. Founded two years ago but still in stealth mode, Intersect is led by Peter Rinearson, a former journalist and Microsoft vice president who co-authored a book with Bill Gates.

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Sharing the gospel of Starbucks

Melody Overton at a Seattle Starbucks

By day, she’s a criminal defense attorney.

But before work, after work, and on weekends, she’s StarbucksMelody.

For the past nine months, Melody Overton has been building her brand on the blog StarbucksMelody.com. Though she is not employed by Starbucks, Overton acts as a sort of brand ambassador for the company. She promotes new products, spreads Starbucks news, and creates discussion forums for fellow Starbucks fans.

Overton is part of a growing number of brand aficionados who blog, tweet, and spread the word about a company or product they believe in. Neither a journalist nor a Starbucks employee, Overton falls in a new, undefined category. She promotes a product made by a company who has never asked her or encouraged her to do so.

“I don’t think of myself as a journalist,” Overton said. “I felt all along the purpose of my blog was to share the rich experience I’ve had with Starbucks with the rest of the world.”

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