Real Change is Seattle’s weekly newspaper.
With two staff reporters, we operate one of the largest print newsrooms in the city. Now, we are the only general audience weekly newspaper in Seattle.
After decimating its staff in 2017, we learned on Feb. 25 that Seattle Weekly is going out of print.
Frankly, I have mixed feelings about the Weekly. I’m familiar with its modern incarnation, the free “alt-weekly” model of the mid-2010s. When I was an intern and then reporter at rival publication the Stranger, the Weekly published a great deal of good journalism. I think of staff writers like Nina Shapiro, Kelton Sears and Josh Kelety.
The paper helped create space for strong voices, like South Seattle Emerald founder and current Seattle Times reporter Marcus Harrison Green. I remember seeing his story on two former gang members who joined the Black Lives Matter movement on the front of the Weekly in 2015, thinking, Wow, we should be doing more cover stories like this.
On the other hand, I felt the Weekly — in its voice and bearing — was too often boring and anodyne. Perhaps that played some role in its decline.
Journalism is an adventure into the unknown. It should be exciting for readers and instill a sense of possibility, as if we are peering into dark corners together, with some new positive action that could result.
The anti-lynching journalist Ida B. Wells said in 1892, “The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press.”
We are taking that responsibility seriously at Real Change. We are investing more, not less, in producing quality journalism at a faster pace, both in print and online. Our newsroom is working hard to do what we can to fill in gaps in the media landscape.
We are investing more, not less, in producing quality journalism at a faster pace, both in print and online.
It almost goes without saying that a top priority for our readers is directly supporting the roughly 700 vendors who sell the paper each year — those who live on the frontlines of Seattle’s affordability crisis.
But according to our reader surveys, 73 percent of you are looking to Real Change for local news coverage more than anything else. Twenty-three percent of you were also reading the Weekly on a regular basis. You want to know what’s going on in your city.
As Seattle’s weekly paper, we’ll continue to serve readers with award-winning reporting and unique voices, and we’re focused on opportunities for growth. One of my aims as the new editor is to marshal the facts and build a fresh sense of hope — particularly around reducing homelessness. In recent years, the city’s dialogue around the issue has felt intractable and discouraging.
As other publications downsize or close shop, we have an opportunity to step up, stand out and help move the conversation in important ways. We’ll be working to break news, surprise and delight readers, and spark new discussions.
My view is that it is generally better to show than to tell — to unearth facts that speak for themselves and shed new light. Our reporting will strive to be concise, sharp and self-evidently useful to the reader.
Our reporting will strive to be concise, sharp and self-evidently useful to the reader.
We’ll also be open about our biases without dwelling too much on them, because every journalist has biases (if they say they don’t, they are lying).
Our biases are toward equality and equity; we feel the status quo is unacceptable.
Plenty of people share those good intentions, but too often fall into retrodding well-worn ideological ground or moralizing. We’ll work to avoid that and focus above all on accuracy, timeliness and revealing hidden truths.
The goal is to hold power accountable to those with the least power and, by doing so, create a better city for all.
Ansel Herz is Real Change's new Editor. He has a decade of experience in journalism and was previously a reporter at the Stranger. Have a story idea? He can be can reached at ansel (at) realchangenews (dot) org.
Read the full Feb. 27 - March 5 issue.
Real Change is a non-profit organization advocating for economic, social and racial justice. Since 1994 our award-winning weekly newspaper has provided an immediate employment opportunity for people who are homeless and low income. Learn more about Real Change.