Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Death by JOA - Seattle Edition

David Horsey - Seattle Post-Intelligencer

I noticed in the news over the last couple of days that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has been offered up for sale by the Hearst Corporation, with the intent of shutting down publication within 60 days if no buyer is found.

The "P-I" operates under a Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) with the Seattle Times. Judging from some of the history of the two papers, this has been a rocky relationship. Pun intended.

It's no secret that times are tough in the newspaper business, and it's a shame that any newspaper has to shut down. This particular story drew my interest because one of the more talented staff members of the P-I is someone I met several times almost 20 years ago.

Andrew Schneider is a Senior Correspondent at the P-I who has produced some excellent investigative reports for them over the last several years, primarily related to public health issues. His Secret Ingredients blog on the P-I website is very interesting reading, especially if you're interested in the issue of the quality of the food we consume.

His reports include most recently the manner in which imported honey from China is 'laundered' to appear as if it originated elsewhere. This is having a negative effect on the regulation of imports as well as the quality control measures in place in the US. The articles made me look at my little bottle of "raw and unfiltered, Colorado grown" honey in a very different way.

Mr. Schneider has worked at numerous papers across the country. I knew him when he was a reporter and editor at the Pittsburgh Press in the late 80's. It was during his time at the Press that he won two Pulitzer Prizes for his investigative reporting. He spoke with myself and other employees of Life Flight in Pittsburgh on several occasions, while working on stories about trauma care in the region.

If you're interested at all in these topics, especially food safety issues, then Secret Ingredients is worth a visit or two. Hearst alluded to the possibility that the P-I may become strictly an online newspaper. From what I've read, it doesn't sound like the staff up there puts a great deal of faith in that prospect.

Andy, here's hoping that wherever you land you'll be able to continue to have a positive influence on the community you serve through your diligence and skill. Best of luck.

1 comment:

Rebecca Davis Winters said...

Thanks as always, John, for your thoughtful comments! I too am distressed at the decline of print media... as a writer, the situation also makes me broke.

I'm glad you're enjoying some pure Colorado honey. If you need more, try The Fruit Basket in Orchard Mesa... that's where I work on weekends... & robbed the bees myself to get the honey! :) So I can definitely vouch for its purity.