I’ve been mulling over this project for the last few days. Scratching my head. Etc. Trying to figure out into whom we’re going to put the fear of God.
I’ve spent the last year thinking about how a number large U.S. cities have only one daily newspaper. A paper that continues to decline in circulation and, ultimately, relevance. I’ll use the Oregonian as a case in point because I worked there last summer. It’s a great paper, with solid editors, reporters and a staff that truly gives a shit. But their newsroom has slashed in half. They cover less turf throughout Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. And, their website is garbage. I mean, really awful. Take a look for yourself.
I wasn’t entirely surprised that nobody in Portland my age read the Oregonian. I mean nobody. I’d talk to them at bars and coffee shops and parties I went to. No dice. And this is a city with a ridiculously large number of young, well-educated people. Who, allegedly, give a damn, are politically active, socially conscious, liberal, progressive, what have you. There are two alternative weekly papers in Portland as well, along with another mainstream rag that comes out a couple of times a week. But people weren’t really reading much of them either. In addition, I’ll argue that the two alt-weeklies are pretty poor at covering actual news and currents events (exhibit A: The Village Voice).
This landscape, in my estimation, seems like an ideal place to launch a news-based website that can cover Portland, and do so in a meaningful fashion. Just my two cents. Take it or leave it.
A couple of other quick thoughts. First, Gawker’s recent re-design, as well as its movement toward a more national audience, leaves a hole that could be filled. Similarly, I think someone could take on New York Magazine, as it continues to chart a new course (and as the Observer continues to go down in flames). Finally, I’ve seen no publication that has been able to adequately seize Brooklyn’s growing influence and brand. It’s still a completely untapped market.