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Hint for old journalism in new world

Considering that the online-only Seattle PI is such a streamlined and staff-starved operation, celebration ensues when it manages to deliver any journalism at all. On the site, Vanessa Ho’s elegant boiler-plate story about Seattle Opera‘s financial challenges nailed every aspect of what/when/why but failed to create any sense of who. Who is Seattle Opera, and why should anyone care about its fate? This failure accounts for the low quality of the comments, most of them either begrudging or outright hostile to the idea that the city extend any assistance.

This sentence stood out:

The (Seattle City Council) committee obviously was supportive of the opera and Seattle Center, but councilmember Sally Bagshaw said she wanted to ensure the deal would provide specific public benefits, such as vocational opportunities.

What an anti-art toad Bagshaw is. Art is not, for her, its own excuse. It has to provide socially redeeming value to earn support. Vocational opportunities? Why not reading groups for gang members and stage sets that reduce global warming?

Journalism tells stories. Even on deadline, even if, in Jonathan Lethem‘s phrase, it has to tell its story walking, it can’t afford to skip a crucial part of the plot.

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