September 05, 2008
Good news and bad news

David Postman is leaving the Seattle Times for a position with Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures.

I wish Postman the very best in the next stage of his career. But his absence from journalism will be a loss. While too much mainstream journalism suffers from bias, superficiality, laziness and credulity, Postman's work has been a noteworthy exception. In my experience, he has been thorough, knowledgeable, open to a variety of perspectives and fair. Not to mention a very decent human being.

It's increasingly apparent that there's a problem with the economics of newsgathering that leads some of the best and brightest journalists to leave the newsroom for positions with government, candidates or politically active business interests. In recent months alone, Postman has been preceded by veteran state reporters David Ammons, Robert Mak, Ralph Thomas and others. I'm happy for all of these folks personally, but overall, this trend isn't obviously good for the cause of transparent and accountable government.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at September 05, 2008 10:47 AM | Email This
1. I think journalism is now turning into the same job category with teaching. In the past, those going into journalism and teaching were people with mission and vision to improve the society at large. Now, you see fewer of those, and more of those with mostly "I need a job" mentality.

Posted by: DopioLover on September 5, 2008 10:54 AM
2. Sorry Stefan, I cannot join the love fest for Postman. He was and is bias in his reporting, but obviously Allen must like that sort of thing.

His over the top flogging for Darcy Burner and the Governor were embarassing to an objective reader. He refused to look into any impropriety like the Maple Valley Donut Hole payoff with Ron Sims, Yarrow Bay Development and Martin Durkan Jr.. He used Goldy as a Source for gosh sakes! Good luck to him, personally but professionally he lacked objectivity in my opinion.

Posted by: Huh? on September 5, 2008 11:00 AM
3. @1: Sorry? Who exactly would go through journalism or education just because they "need a job"?

Think before you speak, moron.

Posted by: demo kid on September 5, 2008 11:38 AM
4. Given your expertise in all things "moron," dumbo, perhaps you could take your own advice? I mean.... just for once, and actually think BEFORE you post? What a surprise THAT would be!


That said, Postman will not be any loss to "journalism" generally, or the Times specifically.

While not as bad as the chief gas bag in Seattle, Joel "Waste of Air" Connelly, he was just as much in the tank for the left as Joel... just a little more subtle about it... thus the acolades from the fringe-left blog nutters that Postman refered to in his efforts to drive traffic their way... acolades that don't go to unbiased sources.

The morons at HA, that little kid that is NPI... they're losing one of their own... and... they'll miss him! (sob)

Posted by: Hinton on September 5, 2008 11:57 AM
5. The fact that on occasion Postman got BOTH the left and the right mad at him speaks well for his objectivity. He was one of the best political reporters in the northwest; and as Stefan noted he joins a growing list of long-time and most-respected ''old media'' who have gone elsewhere.

Posted by: Methow Ken on September 5, 2008 12:02 PM
6. "Sorry? Who exactly would go through journalism or education just because they "need a job"?

Those idiots that couldn't hack it in Computer Science. In otherwords, morons like you demon kid.

Posted by: pbj on September 5, 2008 12:13 PM
7. I think they want to have a job a year from now. The way the MSM is imploding on the Palin stuff, they may be the wisest people in the newsroom.

Posted by: scott on September 5, 2008 12:26 PM
8. II find it odd that so many political reporters are making career changes at the hight of the political season. Why?

Posted by: ROCKETMAN on September 5, 2008 12:40 PM
9. Liberals are dense. They will never change their biased propagandizing. That is why the papers are dying. They will ride the papers all the way into bankruptcy rather that fairly report the news.

Posted by: pbj on September 5, 2008 12:46 PM
10. Stefan - I don't understand why you are carrying the water for an OTT liberal democrat. You should understand your reader base a bit better by now.

Posted by: Crusader on September 5, 2008 01:03 PM
11. The left must evacuate all semblances of honest journalism if they expect to get Queen Christine appointed governor again.

Say how is Robert Mak's position working out as the official hot chocolate taste tester for the City of Magical Million Dollar Toilets?

Posted by: Andy on September 5, 2008 01:23 PM
12. Well, pbj got it right. Demo kid, sit and think before spewing out your name calling. As an older generation with a college kid, I definitely see more of those who major in journalism and education with no sense of purpose. When I was in college, a large number (I'd say most) of those majoring in journalism and education had purpose, mission and vision for betterment of younger generation or the society at large. Now, I see that only a small percentage go in the fields with the same kind of purpose. Most are in those majors because they are either too dumb to hack in technology, business, health science, etc., or too lazy to put in the effort. Of course, I know it is just anecdotal with no hard statistics, but I see enough to see this. Only if there are true journalists and educators with the same kind of purpose as old days, the society at large would not be as messed up as now with low moral values, low sense of responsibility and high expection of entitlement.

Posted by: DopioLover on September 5, 2008 01:31 PM
13. Oh wait! Are you saying an oh so pure journalist, guided by nothing but a quest for truth is selling out to run with A CAPITALIST????

Say isn't so! Gosh, those delusions die hard! {/sarcasm}

Posted by: Ragnar Danneskjold on September 5, 2008 01:43 PM
14. Stefan,

With Postman's vocational demise, who now will there be to run contests for you and I to win?

He ran a fair shop, calling B.S. on looney tuners from the left and right.

Who will take his place? Given what we see from the Blethen's these days, look for a "gal in the front office-type" working in inside sales in the classifieds department to get the gig.

The Piper

Posted by: Piper Scott on September 5, 2008 01:56 PM
15. @12: Of course, I know it is just anecdotal with no hard statistics, but I see enough to see this.

Otherwise known as "you're talking out of your butt". Brilliant. It's faith-based debate! I'm amazed that anyone could think that your crotchety ramblings are anything close to the truth.

Seriously, teaching and journalism still do require dedication, and an interest beyond a paycheck. You can be doing a number of things with the same level of education that would be paying much, much more.

Posted by: demo kid on September 5, 2008 02:42 PM
16. I know someone who left Vulcan because the whole thing was pretty poorly run. A lot of ridiculous back flips to justify Paul Allen's whims, but stuff that his people eventually realize isn't really amounting to much in the greater scheme of things. So their tends to be a revolving door.

I am sure Postman will be treated well given his standing, but still, I think it is a step down for someone of Postman's skill level.

Postman is one of the few good ones. Sadly, there's probably not many other places of integrity to go for a high ranking journalist. I can see that Postman has more integrity than to simply take a job as some Democrat politician's mouthpiece or advisor.

It's a good hard lesson for journalism to learn. You better have a good product, or you should be kicked to the gutter like everything else in the USA that doesn't hold up to competition. Freedom means freedom to fail. And the MSM is failing spectacularly.

Posted by: Jeff B. on September 5, 2008 03:34 PM
17. By far, the only two prominent political reporters in Puget Sound that I really respected as top-quality journalists were Postman and Mak.

Now they are both gone.

Sucks to be us.

Posted by: pudge on September 5, 2008 03:47 PM
18. Demo kid, this will be last time I would respond to any of your posting because of your troll-ness. You are a troll and you know it. Most people would agree with me that the vast majority of teaching and journalism students are majoring in them not because they have a purpose to fulfill. Further, teachers constantly striking now or vast majority of journalists with severely lacking objectivity in their profession is proof enough that they are in where they are not because of their purpose.

You are not ready to discuss diverse opinions and thoughts. You are simply trolling to make arguments for the argument sake along with name calling and crass speech.

Posted by: DopioLover on September 5, 2008 05:58 PM
19. pbj: Those idiots that couldn't hack it in Computer Science.

Huh. I got a degree in journalism, and, not to brag, but I am a successful and respected computer programmer, a world-recognized expert in Perl, web security, and more.

That said, yes, journalism is much easier than computer science. :-)

Posted by: pudge on September 5, 2008 06:26 PM
20. @18: You are not ready to discuss diverse opinions and thoughts.

Bull. I've changed my stances and opinions as new information comes available, and I welcome new perspectives But I'm asking you to back up these claims, and you give me attitude. You're claiming that "most people agree with you", but where's the proof? You whine on about how journalists and teachers being biased, but tell me... how do you measure that? By the number of people that disagree with you?

If your reaction to any kind of challenge to your opinion is to cry and complain, you're definitely not "discussing diverse opinions". Don't kid yourself.

Posted by: demo kid on September 5, 2008 07:16 PM
21. Dumbo spews again: Otherwise known as "you're talking out of your butt".

And who better to know then SP's CHIEF "butt talker?"

"I'm amazed that anyone could think that your crotchety ramblings are anything close to the truth."

Pot, kettle, black. More of your reeking hypocrisy.

It spews further: "Seriously, teaching and journalism still do require dedication." So do plumbing and ditch digging. None of these four jobs require ANYTHING EXCEPT "an interest" in a "paycheck."

Dumbo, the idea that the whiny, on-strike little punks masquerading as "teachers" in Bellevue are motivated by ANYTHING besides money is as moronic as your support of OhDrama or any other leftist.

Well, maybe not THAT moronic, since you've proven yourself to be quite the moron. But someone of even your simple cognitive skills should get the drift.

Posted by: Hinton on September 6, 2008 09:25 AM
22. This is incest run rampant. The press portrays itself as watchdog of government. Paul Allen specializes in public/private partnerships in which, as Ralph Nader puts it, costs are socialized and profits are privatized.

One after another journalist goes into gov't or gov't connected work. No wonder the approval ratings of journalists are lower than even lawyers.

Posted by: russell garrard on September 6, 2008 01:14 PM
23. The biggest "politics and government" debacle in this part of the world is Sound Transit - bar none. Postman's coverage of ST essentially was non-existent. I'd guess that says less about his instincts and talents than it does about directives from his superiors at the Times.

My guess is that he was on a tight leash, and part of why he left may well have been some discomfort with that.

More to the point - Vulcan? What's up with that? Postman's got one boss now (big Paul), and how interesting could it possibly be to flack about the big guy's toys and his SLU property developments? Sheesh . . .

Posted by: terrorist knuckleknock on September 6, 2008 01:36 PM
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