“Serving Capitol Hill since 1926,” the paper has been part of a small chain with a dedicated California-based owner for the past three years after vertically integrated foreclosure company Northwest Trustee Service exited the journalism business a few years back.
But this spring, things slowed down. Content on the Capitol Hill Times site has been sparsely updated since March. The main story on the page as of earlier Monday remained a March 13th report on the task force that led to today’s City Council vote. The usual flow of two or three Capitol Hill-focused articles a week has stopped. The site received its first update in a week — a post of a press release about this upcoming community crime meeting we posted about here — after we called the Capitol Hill Times Monday morning asking about the situation after watching the site stay mostly quiet for over a month.
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Despite the lack of content, the Capitol Hill Times has been printing newspapers weekly, as they have always done, management tells us. There just isn’t the same level of Capitol Hill reporting as before. Other neighborhood newspapers run by Pacific Publishing such as Madison Park Times, Queen Anne News, and City Living Seattle also continue to print and content has appeared to have increased at some of the sites.
The Capitol Hill Times has survived years of uncertainty in the newspaper business. Before the Northwest Trustees period of managing the paper, Pacific also owned the brand and, in 2009, canned the newspaper’s longtime editor in favor of a centralized approach that syndicated content across several now-shuttered Seattle properties. Since then, the business has gone through the ownership shuffling, and a number of editors and freelance contributors.
Robert Munford, general manager of the company, insists the lack of digital content is a technological problem that has gone unaddressed and said the Capitol Hill Times is in the process of fixing the error. Meanwhile, Munford was very deliberate in making the distinction that Capitol Hill Times is, in fact, “a physical newspaper,” and content arrives on a weekly basis. According to Munford, readers who have subscriptions would be notified of new content, but meanwhile, “we are focused on printed product.”
Capitol Hill, meanwhile, is home to two daily print news operations — though one of us only prints on the internet. Hang in there, Stranger. This is a lonely business.