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Posts published in “Day: April 16, 2007”

Another Pulitzer

Agood day for Northwest newspapers: The Oregonian (in a staff award) won another Pulitzer Prize, for its coverage of the Kim case last winter.

The Washington Post's description said the stories concerned "the Kim family, whose disappearance in the Oregon mountains prompted a desperate search that riveted the nation. Kati Kim and her two young daughters were rescued, but her husband, James, was found dead after he had gone looking for help. The paper's reporting continued after the search ended, with articles about missteps and confusion that bedeviled the agencies involved."

The awards board said "for its skillful and tenacious coverage of a family missing in the Oregon mountains, telling the tragic story both in print and online."

Not to be churlish, but we thought at the time that the coverage (generally, not just at the Oregonian) was over-coverage, exhaustive and sweeping past real need. (Did many readers actually read it all? Or was the story that compelling?) But . . . it was very done, skillful and detailed journalism without doubt. Congratulations on finely detailed work.

Two papers, for maybe another decade

On the face at least, this sounds like a good deal for the time being: A resolution of the long-running Seattle Times/Post-Intelligencer battle that seems to give the P-I another decade of life. What happens then remains unclear; but then, who knows what newspapering will look like in another decade anyway?

From the announcement:

Under terms of the agreement, both newspapers will continue to publish for the foreseeable future. Under the agreement, The Seattle Times Company is buying back the guaranteed revenue stream to Hearst if the P-I is ever closed and Hearst is paying the Times in exchange for an agreement that the Times will not issue further loss notices until at least 2016. . . .

Other elements of the agreement, aimed at fostering a renewed constructive business relationship between the two parties, include a provision to name a senior circulation executive dedicated to monitoring P-I circulation and efforts to try to slow or arrest the circulation decline of the P-I. The settlement also calls for all current litigation and claims to be dropped and specifies that any future issues will go to binding arbitration.

Our initial thought is that the Times executives were looking long-range here, aiming for eliminating the big penalty at the back end in return for giving up the prospective monopoly in the near term. (A counter-interpretation, visible in some of the comments sections, is that the Blethen family, which runs the Times, "blinked" - were concerned about some of the upcoming testimony.)

Essentially, the papers in 1983 entered into a deal to share almost all of their functions except news production and place the work under the aegis of the Times; if the deal is dissolved (which the Times has sought) that would mean the press-less, ad department-less and much smaller P-I might have to shut down. (The Times has posted a good short backgrounder on the Joint Operating Agreement dispute; the P-I news take is a little more extensive.)

Some quick, sometimes emotional, comments are available in the P-I comment section.

Early numbers

Today wasn't Income Tax day (that would be tomorrow), but it does mark release day for round 1 of the 2008 campaign finance cycle, covering the first three months of this year.

You've been hearing about the fundraising on the presidential level; but what about the Northwest's House seats?

A run though the Federal Election Commission's database this morning suggests a few observations.

bullet Should note, first, that we weren't able to locate Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio's filing: it didn't pull up under standard searches. That doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't filed; if anyone has spotted it, drop us a line. FOLLOW DeFazio raised, in the last quarter, $24,065 - less than anyone else in the Oregon House delegation (or Washington or Idaho, for that matter). The Oregonian politics blog notes the significance: If he were to run against Republican Senator Gordon Smith next year, he would have to get hevily into fundraising mode; to date, clearly, he hasn't been.

bullet The ace Northwest House fundraiser of the quarter was Washington Republican Dave Reichert, who not coincidentally had one of the toughest races of the last cycle (and might have the toughest regionally in this next). He raised $184,722, more than anyone else (and we might note here that less than a third of it came from PACs); but because he spent down in the last campaign and was still paying it off this year, he didn't wind up with a lot on hand - $47,584.

bullet A bit in contrast, then: Reichert's 2006 challenger, Darcy Burner, who has said she's running again, raised less than a tenth as much ($17,368) in the last quarter, but has comparable money on hand ($38,088).