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Seattle’s alt-weeklies are dead (and thanks for subscribing to CHS)

After this week’s edition, Seattle will no longer have a printed alt-weekly. The Seattle Weekly, already stripped down by new owners in 2017, will move “digital only” with a much-reduced staff.

Crosscut, powered by grants, corporate sponsorships, and its KCTS public television boosted “supporting members,” broke the news Monday on the end of the Weekly and the further downsizing of Seattle media.

“A series of ownership changes – including Village Voice Media and Voice Media Group – left Seattle Weekly on shaky financial footing by the time Sound Publishing acquired it in 2013,” a message sent to Seattle Weekly freelancers explaining the change reads.

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“In 2017, Sound Publishing relaunched Seattle Weekly as more of a community paper, but the relaunch did not attract enough of an audience and advertising base to make the print product successful.”

While the plan is for the Weekly to continue online, the letter to freelancers makes it clear the effort to create new articles and photography will be much reduced. “As a result of this decision, we will no longer require your services,” the letter reads. “Thank you for sharing in this journey with us.”

In the eternal battle of The Stranger vs. the Seattle Weekly, the end of printing puts the Capitol Hill-based Slog, etc. publisher farther in front in what seems to no longer be any sort of race at all. The Stranger moved to a biweekly format in 2017. How long it will stay in the print business on 11th Ave is anyone’s guess.

On Capitol Hill, CHS also reported on cutbacks at the neighborhood’s faded community weekly newspaper last May as the Capitol Hill Times was printing fewer and fewer Capitol Hill stories. That decay seems to have set in fully in recent weeks as the paper is now printing only press releases including this week’s updates about the appointment of a new corporate controller at Kirkland’s GrowLife, a “president’s letter” from New Jersey Mining Company, and the February 13th announcement of a quarterly earnings conference call for Vancouver, Washington-based Barrett Business Services.

CHS, meanwhile, is one of a handful of neighborhood and community news sites including the West Seattle Blog, MyBallard, South Seattle Emerald, SCC Insight, and the Seattle Bike Blog doing our best to keep Seattle journalism alive. CHS recently was able to move its number of subscribers above 800. Thanks for reading. And for your support.

Seattle also still has one more print player that should not be forgotten. Real Change, with recently appointed editor Ansel Herz, will, after this week, be the last printed weekly in the city.

UPDATE: As noted in comments, we should have also included the Seattle Gay News which continues to print a new edition every Friday. Stop by for the latest.

UPDATE x2: I was on KUOW Tuesday to discuss the Seattle Weekly and the city’s local media. You can listen to the short segment here.

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7 thoughts on “Seattle’s alt-weeklies are dead (and thanks for subscribing to CHS)

  1. I was a charter subscriber to the Seattle Weekly and read it every week. The moment they stopped the subscription model and gave it away for free I don’t think I ever picked up another copy. They had some great writing back in the day.

    • SGN is also largely press releases (and rewritten wire copy) though financially it probably does OK due to national advertisers targeting the LGBT community. That kind of high-dollar niche marketing also keeps the local African American papers alive despite their lack of enterprise reporting. Seattle Weekly had no niche, hence no national ad revenue.

  2. This is sad, because the Seattle Weekly was once a very vibrant and important part of the city. But it’s not surprising, because in recent years it has been a shell of its former self.

    Probably the only reason The Stranger is still in print is because of substantial revenue from pot ads.

    Long live CHS!