Saturday, May 30, 2009

Seattle needs some Pat Paulsen, and right now

SEATTLE - What is really missing from local politics is the fun.

Who is our Pat Paulsen?

Where is the fun?
I am thinking that the days of fun being left to just one person to do it all have, sadly, past. I am thinking about forming a 501c4 FUN Lobby. I just have to come up with a snappy title, something that spells FUN. I have the U, "Us", and I have the N, "Now". But, what's the "F" word?
I'll ponder all the "F" words, and then work on a mission statement.

I'm not kidding.

[editor's note, two degrees of Pat Paulsen: Mr. Paulsen was once hired to be Tom Smothers' weekly friend. I once was hired to hold a half-drank Miller Beer when Tom Smothers went to go on stage in Everett, Washington. Ok, not hired, I drank the rest of that beer as payment]

Monday, May 25, 2009

HorsesAss.Org: Distributed Journalism: the Future of News?

SEATTLE - I'll parse this story, inserting my opinion throughout. I am as much of an expert in what the future looks like as anybody else (nobody knows).

Distributed Journalism: the Future of News? by Goldy, 05/24/2009, 10:53 AM
As newspapers and other large media corporations struggle to develop new business models for the twenty-first century, I wonder if we aren’t already seeing the future of journalism gradually evolving before our eyes… a future that, from the consumer’s perspective doesn’t really look all that remarkably different from the past?

Yes, it will not be very different for a reader like you.. What I think you see coming is the boutique shopping for news and views replacing the megalomart that has been served for so long.

I was reading the New York Times this morning (online of course), and clicked through on a headline in the Technology section, “Why It’s the Megabits, Not the MIPs, That Matter.” It’s an interesting bit of analysis, at least to a techno-geek like me, but what I found truly fascinating was the fact that the Times had picked up the piece from the GigaOM technology news network.

Had you read Joni Balter at the Seattle Times blog entry in ED cetera, Extreme politicking at the King County Council, you would have seen another version of that boutique. The Seattle Times columnist outsourcing to a trusted person blogging original content (welcome to the future).

Of course, this kind of arrangement is nothing new. Newswires like Reuters and the Associated Press have played an integral role in our media since shortly after the invention of the telegraph, and syndicated columnists have long been a mainstay of opinion pages nationwide. Hell, there are often days when less than half the stories on the Seattle Times front page are written by Seattle Times reporters.

Newspapers used to ride the rails for free, get stories distributed to other newspapers along the railway line.
Syndicated columnists that get paid for those distributed stories is a concept ripe for remediation in boutique news reporting.

What’s different today is the explosion in number and quality of web sites and networks like GigaOM, and their ability to expertly specialize in subject matter far beyond that of traditional news wires like the AP. As the Internet and other related technologies continue to tear down the barriers of entry to the media market, there will be many more, not fewer, opportunities to enter the field of journalism. These opportunities may not always pay well (or, at all), but they are there none the less.

If you localize this idea and then ask yourself, why does the Seattle Times pay columnists that write general stories (absent original reporting) when they could just select a story from one of the many boutiques?

The result may be that journalism is gradually transformed from a profession dominated by generalists to one of specialists, each focused on their own particular field of expertise. And as traditional media outlets grow increasingly comfortable with the notion of outsourcing their content to a growing number of third party sources, we may see an end to the kind of duplicate efforts that have long characterized certain types of coverage. (For example, do we really need four TV cameras at the same press conference, when the same sound bite inevitably ends up on all four evening newscasts?)

TV is a bad example, The cash cow goes moo when they air the 5 o'clock news on the individual stations, all at the same time. But, the single courtroom camera is not new to television. In some ways you can already see local tv news do boutique news when they use a newspaper as a source of a report.

Under such a model one could imagine an entrepreneurial journalist setting out to provide in-depth coverage of Seattle city government, a notebook computer and compact high-def camera in hand, serving as a one-person, city hall news pool for any and all media outlets wishing to subscribe. The fact that the same footage might appear simultaneously on KING-5 and KOMO-4 has little downside considering that few viewers watch both broadcasts at once, and if properly done, the only thing keeping the Seattle Times from supplementing their city hall coverage with this wire-like reporting might be a misplaced sense of pride.

A lot of what can be reported is streamed live n the internet,,, and whatever they call King County television. (the real question there is why they need three different channels to broadcast on).

Neighborhood sites like West Seattle Blog could fill a similar role, distributing hyperlocal coverage to regional, state and national outlets. On the flip side, a political site like Publicola could serve as a sorta Capitol news bureau for West Seattle Blog and other neighborhood sites.

Yes, such a model would surely lead traditional news outlets to hire fewer full time reporters, and produce less and less original content, but that’s already happening as it is. And as the Internet continues to tear down barriers to market, those newspapers and broadcasters who transition to a more portal-like product while failing to provide a richer and more varied experience to their audience will inevitably face serious competition from upstarts who will.

This is just where it is going. is replacing some national columnists & talking heads. So, how about Publicola being the local version of that source? And why stop with them as sources?

What I think the portal idea would really looks like is the Seattle Post Globe, but idividualized by the end user and dynamic. Your RSS window has a little byline advertisement that is split between you and the feed, like google ads but without google sucking the micro-value out of everything you do.

All that’s lacking now is a standardized distribution and payment network… a kinda AP representing bloggers and other journalists that allows media outlets of all sizes to reproduce content in print, on air and online, without having to negotiate a hundred different contracts. Ideally, this would take the form of a cooperative owned by the content creators themselves, but I suppose the market will have a say in the final details.

Or maybe not. This model of distributed journalism is clearly playing a larger and larger role in the news industry. The only question remaining is whether the journalists themselves will reap a fair share of the profits.

I wonder what the portrait photographers thought of the Kodak Brownie camera.
Scarcity would provide the idea of value, but the endless sea of blogs and twitters make that unlikely.

The question becomes how do we use the sea, and what technology yet re-invented can the individual utilize to prefect a new social identity and personal communication. Maybe something like facebook only a news journal for the individual.
A sub-list of stories you read today on you page for others to see.
We all become jounalists of our own lives, with public identities we use to socialize with.

Have a great day,
Mike Baker
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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Seattle Times's Ryan Blethen, "Still ready to raise hell and sell newspapers"

SEATTLE - Ryan Blethen, great-great-grandson of Aldrn Blethen, aims to revive the Seattle Times "fiestiness" by ";raising hell and selling newspapers."

You have my full support.

Being timid will not revive the newspaper's voice, as it was a century ago, many voices compete with you in the marketplace.

If you are going down, go down swingin'.

Read The Seattle Times' new Editorial Page Editor's Opinion here!

Have a great day,
Mike Baker
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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Seattle Times News flash: Jan Drago drives a Honda Accord

SEATTLE - Glad Jan Drago cleared that up, because I thought all this time she was driving a Trolley to Seattle's economic oblivion.

Turns out to be a Honda Accord.

I was close.

Have a great day,
Mike Baker

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Jan Drago-ing out announcement to run for Mayor of Seattle

SEATTLE - Is how one announces that they are going to do something reflective of how they would actually do the activity? I sure hope not, but, maybe yes.
Jan Drago has constructed a poll that has her favored over incumbant mayor Greg Nickels. Is this her idea of inclusion or concensus in decision making? I hope not.

Does rumormonger-ing your own intent to act for three months show the governed how you decide something? I hope not.

Does pushing the big business gets anything they want agenda make you a better mayor because you would be nicer about being a "bully" make you a better choice than Greg Nickels? I think not.

Voters that vote against Greg Nickels are not going to vote for the same thing with a new face. Are they? I hope not.

Read another Seattle Times story about Jan Drago getting ready to announce a run for mayor, right here.

Have a great day,
Mike Baker
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Seattle Times: Mayoral candidate Joe Mallahan touts leadership skills

SEATTLE - Mayoral candidate Joe Mallahan had a "get to know the candidate" interview with the SeattleTimes. What is most disappointing about the interview is that it was published in a Saturday edition of the newspaper. This is printed in one of the least read newspapers of the week, and on a rare sunny Spring day. Even the people that have the newspaper delivered are less likely to read it.
Conversely, a story about potential mayoral candidate Jan Drago's push-poll results showing her beating incumbant mayor Greg Nickels has gotten a lot of play all week in the local media. Even as it turns out that the poll is complete crap (poll takers were given positive statements about Drago and then asked if they like her, not kidding) the initial story got headlines early in the week.

To the substance, he is for the tunnel and the 20 cent plastic bad tax.
The tunnel is just about a moot point now. The bag tax is more about the tax than it is about the bag. There are positive ways to change the consumption of plastic bags if that is really the intent, for example, partner with local businesses to fund a free re-usable bag to be sent to every residence. In exchange the companies get their logo tastefully displayed on the bag (and delivered to every home). That would make a difference without slapping somebody's hand for forgetting to bring a bag to the store, but, it is not about that, is it.

He has a point about the mayor being uninvolved in making sure the December snow removal went better than Mr. Nickels assumed.

Mr. Mallahan is running on style points, and managerial tactics, in comparing himself to the current mayor. Is that enough to beat Nickels? Maybe.

BTW, One person commenting in the newspaper's online section stated that Mr. Mallahan's Prius must be used if he drives it. Quite true, and I'll point out that it is possible to be an even green-er Prius owner if you buy it and don't touch it, much like Nigel Tufbel's foam green Fender 6-string, "Don't touch it! Don't even point at it!".

Read the Seattle Times story here!
Have a great day,
Mike Baker
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009 Should Seattle politics devolve?

SEATTLE -'s publisher, David Brewster, asks if it is the right time to "devolve" the city council. I am having a hard time coming up with a good reason why it shouldn't.

The downtown-centric city government is just not as accountable to the people that live here as they are to people that live in places like Medina.
Read Crosscut here!
On the same day the Seattle Time came out against this, and for keeping the government just the way it is they were given a big tax break by the state (you whores).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Seattle Times Newspaper's Nicole Brodeur: Online comments: Uncensored, unfiltered, untied

SEATTLE - Nicole Brodeur has written a "Column" to inform us on how sometimes people say mean things in internet forums.
Strike that, Seattle's only major daily newspaper has paid somebody to write a story to be printed and sold about the nature and form for anonymous posts on its online comments.

Whenever I read the Seattle Times "Democracy Papers" (which are very good reading) I can not help but think of the Nicole Brodeur's of the world and wonder if we are ready to think about what in a newspaper really needs "saving" for the sake of democracy.

Whatever that is, this is not it.

Have a great day,
Mike Baker
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Monday, May 11, 2009 McGinn: Viaduct tunnel 'endangers' Seattle's future

Mayoral candidate Michael McGinn was interviewed by's Chris Grygiel.
Here is the short of it.

Tunnel bad, surface/I-5 expansion good (I agree).

High cost is bad (I agree).

Cars and oil are bad (a mass transit that does not completely run on oil and is sized appropriately for every use I call busses and electric cars, we have one and the other is coming in 2010, so fix the roads already).

Fence sitting on KeyArena and Seattle Center. He gave no solution to an anchor tenant if that is not the NBA. He did not say anything about the $540 million dollar master plan for Seattle Center that does not account for KeyArena or how to pay for it, or how to justify paying for it without an anchor tenant in . . . KeyArena.

He's green (I think he has a fixed idea of what that is, and his funding sources like him that way). He needs to tie tunnel spending to the sidewalks not being built anytime soon if I am ever going to think about voting for him.

He's a people person (I'm people).

Read the interview right here!

Have a great day,
Mike Baker
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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Seattle Times: Editorials & Opinion: Bellevue's creative tunnel vision

SEATTLE - Today's Seattle Times has an editorial affirming the newspaper's love for the Eastside of Lake Washington.

THE Eastside has emerged as a strong, enthusiastic proponent of light rail, joining innovative ideas and long-range visions of the region's development, making civic leaders' call for a tunnel under downtown Bellevue worth serious consideration.

Sound Transit officials estimate a tunnel would add between $500 million to $600 million to the overall cost of the regional transit expansion between downtown Seattle and downtown Redmond. The added cost shouldn't be taken lightly. Nor should it be discounted as economically out of reach.

As Sound Transit's board of directors this week choose the focus of further engineering studies, a tunnel ought to be included. Pushing forth a tunnel, in addition to the surface option, allows further research on the costs, benefits and impacts of each.
- Seattle Times

Hey, what's $500 or $600 million dollars between friends?

Sound Transit link-light rail line that will run through Bellevue is marked with well thought out decisions with a vision of the future, according to the Times. Not mentioned in the option to run part of the rail through a tunnel is that Bellevue should on the hook for tunnel cost overruns, right? That is the new trend from the Washington State Legislature, right?

Seattle wanted a tunnel as part of the replacement of the Alaska Way viaduct and the legislature tagged Seattle with the cost overruns of the tunnel with the passage of Senate Bill 5768. In fact, both State Senators from Bellevue, Fred Jarret of the 41st and Rodney Tom of the 48th Districts, both voted to put the cost overruns on the citizens of Seattle (hey, that's me).

Don't start arguing fairness now Bellevue, you already approved this to be fair in the legislature through the actions of your senators there.

Ok, the "state" is one organization and Sound Transit is a regional organization. . . chaired by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. Yes, that is the same Seattle and mayor that Jarrett and Tom both voted to dump the viaduct project cost overruns onto.

I guess there is only so much the Seattle Times can cram into a puff piece about Bellevue.

Hey, on a side note, Fred Jarrett is running for King County Executive. Seattle is in King County, and so am I.
Greg Nickels is running for re-election for Mayor of Seattle.
What is a voter t do?

Holding your representatives accountable for their votes is coming too end, right now.

I'm not paid to write this so I can't be fired, so, get used to it.

Have a great day,
Mike Baker
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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Seattle Times: Seattle councilman questions promotion of "unsafe" manager

SEATTLE - Seattle City Councilman Nick Licata wants to know where and why money appropriated by the appropriations part of city government is being spent on promoting a poor performing employee.

According to the Seattle Times, Paul Jackson Jr. was promoted from transportation manager to street-maintainence director. Mr. Jackson was the manager in charge of the umployees and trucks that did not remove the snow from Seattle streets after last December's snow storm.
Council President Richard Conlin and Council member Sally Clark did not think how Mayor Greg Nickels spends tax money was any of their business.
Checks and balances? Not today, thanks.

Council member Jean Godden did not have enough information to comment either way.

Read the story in the Seattle Times.

Have a great day,
Mike Baker
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Friday, May 8, 2009

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles: Will push for stadium bill in special session

SEATTLE - It appears we have somebody beyond Sonics fans that actually cares about KeyArena and Seattle Center. Sure, Seattle Center is in Jeanne Kohl-Welles' State Senatorial district.

But let's not act as if it were not the responsibility of Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, and the Seattle City Council, you know, people running for re-election.

She is being public about her role and responsibility, how refreshing. Let's hope, for this city's sake, she makes this work in September.

Read the story here: sen-jeanne-kohl-welles-will-push-for-stadium-bill-in-special-session
Have a great day,
Mr Baker
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