With fewer Capitol Hill stories, Capitol Hill Times still printing

After a relatively robust three years, these are quiet days at the Capitol Hill Times.

“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.  Continue reading

A Northwest Film Forum without film? Outgoing director looks at future of 12th Ave media and arts ‘hub’

Sheehan (Image: NWFF)

What would Capitol Hill’s Northwest Film Forum be without film?

“It’s one that we discuss all the time,” executive director Courtney Sheehan tells CHS about one of the key questions on the future of the 12th Ave film-focused community center as she prepares to leave the organization she’s helped to grow over the past five years.

Sheehan has given her six months’ notice, she says, to give NWFF time to find a new leader and solidify its new foundation as a community hub that Sheehan has been helping to build since stepping into the director role in 2016.

“We’re really excited that for the first time the forum is really becoming a hub in the center of city,” Sheehan said. Continue reading

Live from Capitol Hill: the Last Week in Trump newsletter

64b84587-e4cb-4bef-9b0c-0546e9395aeeSeattle politics and government have offered plenty for Sol Villarreal to fill his two-year-old weekly newsletter Sol’s Civic Minute. And then Donald Trump got elected.

Capitol Hill resident Villarreal had sprinkled some Trump news into Civic Minute, but decided to test out a second newsletter focused on the president-elect. In early December he published a post on Medium about Trump with a survey asking readers if they would like the info in an email. The answer was “yes” so Last Week in Trump was born.

Since then, he has been refining the newsletter with the help of subscribers. The most popular part of the first post on Medium was the inclusion of the conservative side, providing most Seattleites with views differing from their own. He has continued to do that in his beta test of the letter.

“It’s important, I think, for the political conversations that we have (to consider the other side) because we can address each other more effectively if we are talking to each other instead of over each other,” Villarreal said. Continue reading

Marijuana powered media company Top Tree puts down roots on Capitol Hill

14344906_1751160281801142_1287610356336041428_nThis post has been updated with information from Top Tree’s management

A new media venture powered by Seattle’s burgeoning legal cannabis culture is hard at work on Capitol Hill in a space that was once home to an upstart campaign headquarters and an equally rebellious drag queen-inspired cosmetics company.

Top Tree, a marijuana-focused culture magazine and digital advertising agency, has quietly moved into the overhauled retail space at Pike and Boylston formerly home to the Bernie Sanders campaign’s Seattle headquarters and, before that, Jen’s House of Beauty. Glimpses of the now-bustling office can be seen through the art wrap-coated windows. A new keyless security panel guards the front door that had become a favorite camping spot for people on the street in the months since the campaign workers departed earlier this year.

“It’s definitely changed,” Top Tree director of operations Benito Ybarra tells CHS of the neighborhood he grew up hanging out in. “But to be represented on Capitol Hill and on Pike Street specifically, we’re very proud of that.”

While its office space is secreted away, Top Tree’s presence on Capitol Hill is unmissable. The company has been responsible for the series of large murals on the E Pike wall of Neumos since summer — including a recent edition featuring Mariner great and Seattle icon Ken Griffey Jr. Meanwhile, stacks of the free zine-sized publication with day glo colors, a healthy selection of local advertising, and trippy cover imagery can be found in cafes and shops across the neighborhood and beyond.

“I always believed in being physically real for people,” Ybarra said.

Continue reading

Stranger sued over Drunk of the Week photo

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-9-42-02-amA Vancouver, Washington woman is suing 11th and Pine-headquartered The Stranger after she says the alt-weekly included her bare-breasted photograph in its “Drunk of the Week” feature when she was actually celebrating her grandma’s 90th birthday in Pittsburgh.

Ex-Stranger photographer Kelly O’Neil is also named in the defamation suit brought last week on behalf of Tamar Hage against Stranger parent company, Index Newspapers: Continue reading

The Uberization of Seattle news

Those $54 bottles of award ceremony wine aren't going to buy themselves

Those $54 bottles of award ceremony wine aren’t going to buy themselves

Wednesday, District 3 representative Kshama Sawant will present a resolution to a committee of the Seattle City Council recognizing that the local media landscape is all hosed up and confusing:

Public broadcasters have a legal – and moral – responsibility to inform the public in times of emergencies. It is in those times of need that the local community relies on professionals at local news stations like KING 5 and others. Tegna, the company that recently took over operations at several stations such as KING 5, is replacing those professionals with amateur citizen reporting. Local leaders believe that would jeopardize the public safety at a time when professionalism and experience are most critical in maintaining the public trust.

At the heart of this — out of all the things to worry about in the death spiral of legitimate local news — is an app and crowdsourcing effort being rolled out to turn “citizen journalists” into cheap freelancers that has sprawling broadcasting conglomerates salivating. The app and the direction it represents are summed up as the “Uberization” of local news in the announcement of a Wednesday morning press conference featuring Sawant, various Council members, and union representatives.

We’re not expecting a resolution but CHS certainly plays a (puny) role in the changes underway. Continue reading

Meet the Capitol Hill woman set to take over as editor of The Stranger

IMG_2838Seattle Times journalist and longtime Capitol Hill resident Tricia Romano will soon take over as editor of major Capitol Hill media conglomerate The Stranger. Romano talked with CHS about the culture of Capitol Hill, her experience as a journalist, and her plans for the alt-weekly.

“My challenge is to make The Stranger a thing you can read and learn about the city as a whole, not just Capitol Hill,” said Romano. “To be better, it needs to be a city paper.”

Romano started her career at The Stranger, a weekly alternative paper that has become a fixture of Capitol Hill, and will officially take the helm on June 29. In addition to working at The Stranger, Romano has been on the staff The Village Voice and The Seattle Times, and freelanced for The New York Times and The Daily Beast, among others. For the past few years, Romano has written for The Seattle Times. Continue reading

Thanks a lot, landmarks board: The Stranger staying on Capitol Hill

Tim Keck's future office

Tim Keck’s future office

Shit’s a landmark

What kind of Lord Baby Jesus takes the Value Village away while allowing alt-weekly The Stranger to stay?

That’s the question nearly most of Capitol Hill is asking itself Monday morning after the Friday-afternoon-before-Halloween news dump in which the longtime Capitol Hill-based media and entertainment services conglomerate quietly announced it has backed off its threats to leave its dilapidated 11th Ave headquarters, signing a new lease that will keep the business in Pike/Pine through 2020.

By then Capitol Hill will have been declared “dead” a record 13 times.

“We were going to leave,” Keck told the Puget Sound Business Journal as it shared the announcement Friday, “but the historical designation … that gave us a chance to re-look at our plans of leaving.”

While re-look is not a real word, the building once home to the White Motor Company during Pike/Pine’s auto row era was, indeed, designated a protected landmark earlier this year — both inside and out — thanks to its place in auto row history and the early days of REI.

In statements likely written while breakfasting, Keck tells CHS: Continue reading

16 things CHS heard at the Capitol Hill ‘Gentrification Conversation’

Thursday night, Capitol Hill residents and community members gathered at First Baptist Church for a “Gentrification Conversation” to formally discuss the radical and rapidly occurring changes in the neighborhood.

Organized by the Capitol Hill Community Council, the forum’s panel featured Tricia Romano — a Seattle Times lifestyle writer and author of the recent front page story on the Hill’s gentrification — and a slew of various community members, many of whom were interviewed for her story, including performer Ade Connere, Michael Wells from the Chamber of Commerce, co-owner of the Wildrose bar Shelley Brothers, Diana Adams (owner of the Vermillion bar and gallery), and Branden Born, an associate professor of urban design and planning at the University of Washington and Capitol Hill resident.

With Romano’s nerve-touching article as a springboard, panelists discussed their own experiences with the influx of capital and “bros” on the Hill, neighborhood identity, and public safety amongst increasing incidents of violence and LGBTQ hate crimes in Pike/Pine.

Here are 16 things CHS heard Thursday night:

  1. “People are coming here specifically to party. I’ve actually heard people call it ‘party mountain’,” said Romano.
  2. “The idea that you hear all the time is ‘that’s just the way the market works.’ Don’t believe that,” said Born. “Your economics professor was lying to you.”
  3. Born said that the city has an organizational flaw in having the DPD and the Department of Neighborhoods separate from one another, adding that DPD is funded via developer fees which incentivises them to approve frenzied development projects. Continue reading

Seattle Central has a student newspaper again

unnamed-1Seattle Central College’s student news publication changed formats this year from a magazine to a broadsheet, and for good reason: people on campus kept mistaking the old Central Circuit as a promotional brochure.

Editor Mohamed Adan told CHS that making the Central Circuit look more like an obvious news publication was one of his top priorities when he took the helm of the paper in 2014. Only minor editorial changes have been planned as part of the format change, Adan said. The editor is planning to expand circulation into more neighborhood businesses soon.

“People are picking it up and there’s been an uptick in people wanting to contribute to the newspaper,” he said. “The change has been very positive so far.”

Central Circuit editor Mohamed Adan (Photo: CHS)

Central Circuit editor Mohamed Adan (Photo: CHS)

The Central Circuit, and its predecessor publications, have had a long and contentious relationship with the SCC administration and the college’s publications board. In 2008, the administration shutdown the City Collegian newspaper following the publication of articles that were critical of the college and one editorial that claimed black poverty stemmed from a culture of victimhood.

CHS contributor and Central Circuit alum Casey Jaywork wrote an excellent story on the recent history of SCC student publications — starting with the City Collegian’s shutdown leading to the underground New City Collegian and the rise of the Central Circuit.

Relations between the administration and Central Circuit have cooled recently, but Adan said the newspaper staff will continue pushing the administration to address critical issues on campus. Getting a student representative on the college’s publication board is near the top of that list.

“At the end of the day, this publication is protected by the First Amendment and we have all the same rights as any publication,” Adan said. “Our intention is not to ruffle any feathers, our intention is to report the news.”