Seattle PostGlobe's Post-Mortem: Bad Blood and Correction as Site Closes After Two Years

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"Donations have fallen off," writes Sally Deneen, co-founder and now curator of the Seattle PostGlobe website, which drew its last breath yesterday. "Ads have generated no meaningful revenue--ever. We began with no startup money. We obtained no grants. All of which actually provided unusual freedom. But as a volunteer-run site, we've run out of helping hands as unemployed journalists have left for jobs." So it was "30" after 28 months for the e-paper begat by the 2009 death of the print Post-Intelligencer, the site's last day marked by a correction and bad blood flowing through its comments section.

"If you took the time and effort to fact check, maybe you wouldn't find yourself so embarrassed at having to shut down," wrote one observer, Scott St. Clair, identifying himself as a Crosscut.com writer. "And if you realized that journalism isn't a paper-and-ink product anymore - it's gone viral. Typical of many former P-I staffers who bemoaned their fate as if it was the end of Western Civilization when it was nothing more than the obsolesence [sic] of a business model. Write when you find work."

He also noted that he, and not just the PostGlobe as Deneen had said in listing some of her site's accomplishments, reported on the sale of four old Steel Electric ferries to a Mexican scrap-metal outfit (actually reported first by The Herald of Everett).

After other commenters called the complaint classless, St. Clair shot back, "The market has spoken...The reading public grew tired of retread, left-wing apologist excuses for extortion attempts like Nickelsville. And the fact that it [the PostGlobe] falsely claimed an exclusive and has yet to print a retraction speaks for its credibility."

Sigh. That prompted a "regret the error" addendum by Deneen's to her final column, but may also have been the reason why Crosscut publisher David Brewster chimed in with an appreciative salute to the PostGlobe's efforts, "Thanks to you for keeping stories and good reporters in the game," he said.

And the site did that, in the beginning turning out readable, enterprising pieces under editor Kery Murakami, who had little money ($2,000 startup budget) and staff to work with, yet eked out some news and the occasional scoop, such as the $40,000 bonus that City Hall quietly slipped City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco.

The PG provided a few bucks for out-of-work writers and allowed them to keep their hands in the news until they were able to move on, as so many have now, some writing for other newspapers--as Murakami himself is, for Newsday--and others launching their own websites, including the popular SportspressNorthwest run by ex-P-Iers Art Thiel and Steve Rudman, and InvestigateWest edited and written by former P-I staffers Rita Hibbard, Robert McClure, and Carol Smith.

Deneen says she'll "attempt" to keep the PostGlobe site up for its research and archival value. The story that got the biggest read and reaction? Deneen's goodbye.

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