News Skipping Out
As Bradley posted, the PI reports that Seattle Weekly’s editor, Knute “Skip” Berger, is quitting in the wake of the most recent corporate merger to consume his paper. The New Times chain took control of the Seattle Weekly in a merger with the Weekly’s previous owner, Village Voice Media, seven months ago. Berger is the 9th prominent staffer, including the publisher, art director, music editor, ad director, and classifieds director to leave since the merger was completed in January. Berger has been with the paper for 15 years, and has done three stints as the editor: 1993 to 1995; 1997 to 2000; and 2002 to today.
Seattle Times reporter David Postman first posted the news about Berger’s resignation on the Seattle Times blog on Wednesday after Berger himself posted the news on the Seattle Weekly’s own web site Monday. (Sorry we didn’t Slog about it ourselves. We were wrapped up in July 4th deadlines and the story about the Critical Mass arrests.)
Berger’s resignation is hardly surprising. New Times management has told the Seattle Weekly point blank they don’t like the paper and that it needs to change. The New Times frat boy, Libertarian, hard-news formula is certainly at odds with Berger’s utopian, ponderous, hippie vibe. I’m surprised actually that Berger didn’t tell his new & self consciously macho bosses goodbye several months ago.
I don’t have much to say about Berger that I haven’t said before. Erica C. Barnett, Dan Savage, and I (and other Stranger staffers) have published Slog posts and articles over the years criticizing and challenging Berger’s analysis—particularly on growth, density, and transportation issues.
Even though Berger and I have covered many of the same stories over the years, I don’t believe I’ve been in the same room with him or even talked to him more than one or two times during the seven years I’ve been at the Stranger. So, honestly, I don’t have a personal reaction to his news. I don’t know him.
I will say this: About two months ago, based on a premature rumor, Savage Slogged that Berger was leaving for a job in Atlanta. I remember thinking, “That rumor doesn’t ring true. Berger cares too much about the future of Seattle to take a job in Atlanta.ā€¯ I don’t know what he’s going to do now, but I’m certain he won’t abandon the 15 years of work he’s put in at the Weekly by abandoning the Puget Sound. We’ll still be hearing from him on local issues.
As for the Seattle Weekly, this isn’t the last of the staff changes and turmoil there. Seven months on now, New Times is still busy focusing on the Village Voice. (They’ve yet to hire a new editor there, after their initial hire quit.) Eventually, though, New Times will turn its attention to Seattle Weekly and there will be further changes. But after half a year now, I’m bored of waiting for New Times to do something. Maybe Berger was tired of waiting as well.