I publish community news in Seattle so I’m used to making things function on a tight budget and working with contributors of all types in an environment of relentless change. Creating new news things is a lot of fun and a spiritually rewarding affair for a journalist. Ending them never is.
The Central District News — published continuously, often 24×7, mostly 365 days a year since October 31, 2007 — will come to a close this week. The last day will probably be Friday. After that, the site will freeze and the archives and comments, pictures and etc. will just kind of hang there as a quickly decaying resource to some of the stories of the neighborhoods of Seattle’s Central Area from this strange and wonderful six years and change. I don’t have the heart to run through the best and most memorable right now. Maybe I’ll get to it later once the news flow has trickled to an end.
I have operated the site for the last few years after inheriting it from founder Scott in 2010 — when he wrote his “big change” post. Editor Tom gave the site its start on a new era — here’s his “big change” post in 2011 saying hello. You can find his work now on his own creation — the Seattle Bike Blog. Megan came on in 2013 to help keep CDNews alive. She has a hello post, too, and will probably have time for a “big change” post to say goodbye before the week is done.
Why this “big change” and why now? As a business, Central District News is a challenge. It has survived on advertising revenue and generous support from readers. We appreciate the opportunity to bring messages from supportive businesses to the community. We appreciate the support so many of you gave with subscription payments every month. We’re in the process of shutting down active subscriptions so you shouldn’t see any additional payments charged. If you would like your most recent payment refunded, let us know.
The revenue has been enough to sustain the site. It has not, however, been enough to grow the site. The people who have worked on it every day — Tom and Megan — were giving much more than they were getting. At least in the dollars and cents end of things. I thank them for doing such fantastic work.
Even with the challenges, we kept the flame alive for one consistent source of community news in the Central District for a long time. Trying to find a pace we could sustain, however, marked a change that many of you noticed and some of you challenged us on in recent months. What happened to my CDNews, a few asked? What happened to the hour by hour scanner reports Scott used to do? Why haven’t you reported about this? Why haven’t you reported about that? It was difficult — especially when we knew that, yes, indeed, the Central District News couldn’t perform at some of the lofty heights we’d reached in the past. We reported deeply when we could. But the opportunities were becoming fewer and fewer and the dissonance between the site’s standard coverage and larger news was becoming more and more confusing for readers — and editors, alike.
We will not leave a total void — and I have hopes the closure will open up opportunities for other voices to say more or say it louder or say it in a different way. Sites like the Seattle Medium continue to serve the community. My other site CapitolHillSeattle.com will continue to cover many issues that are pertinent beyond Capitol Hill and across Seattle’s central neighborhoods. Community radio station Hollow Earth is there to get the word out about neighborhood events, issues and ideas. But also know I’m aware we are leaving behind a gap. It’s part of why we kept things going this long. And, like I said above, ending things hurts.
Thanks for reading.