by Alex Fryer
The media landscape in Washington state is evolving, and once again, the news isn’t good. GeekWire reported on Friday that AOL was shutting down its Patch community news websites in this state. The move shutters Redmond Patch, Edmonds Patch and Kirkland Patch, and leaves their editors and reporters out of work. It also creates a tremendous news vacuum on the Eastside, which was once served by both the Bellevue Journal-American and a large bureau of The Seattle Times, staffed with its own photographers and columnists (I worked at the Times Eastside bureau in the late 1990’s, covering cops and courts and later the City of Bellevue).
Today, the Eastside stands as one of the most populous and affluent regions in the United States not served by a daily newspaper. Meanwhile, there’s change afoot on the radio dial. KUOW-FM announced that it is scrapping local shows Weekday, The Conversation and KUOW Presents and combining resources into one show, The Record on KUOW. That’s four hours of locally produced programming reduced to two. Have you ever listened to Weekday’s Steve Scher interview a candidate for public office? It usually takes about 15 minutes of kiddie-pool questions before we finally get to the deep end. And if a candidate isn’t prepared to go there, it shows. That kind of in-depth programming is a thing of the past. Unlike AOL’s Patch, KUOW is a local resource. Let’s tell them to expand local news. Because no matter how KUOW tries to spin it, less coverage is less coverage, and we have a right to feel robbed.