About Post Alley

Post Alley is a news website produced by a writers’ collective of 20-50 invited participants. It is writer-driven, peer-edited, with both short items in a blog and longer stories according to the interests of the writers.

Most of the articles will focus on the Seattle region, but some local writers will report on national topics. Writers are drawn from three groups: “displaced journalists” (experienced writers who lack good outlets); experts (including academics and researchers); and “novices” (writers breaking into print or others who have not written much for publication). Publication is continuous.

Other features to be added: aggregation, podcasts, public sessions at which news is generated and debated. Short blog items will be posted directly by members, but longer stories are edited by another member of the group. The managing editor, Doug McLennan, helps schedule the articles and works on such things as headlines, illustration, and tagging. The site uses WordPress, and trains its members in how to use this technology.

Post Alley aims to fill some local gaps (architecture, cultural news, suburbs). It will encourage debate among heterodox writers to create a sense that topics are debatable and enriched by multiple perspectives. Comments are encouraged and are curated by the author of the article. The site is unusually free from normal constraints: seeking clicks, pleasing donors, appealing to advertisers by catering to a distinct demographic group, or following an editorial slant. It will accept articles from nonmembers of the collective, but they must be edited by a member before being posted. Many articles will be longer and more complex than in other local publications. Post Alley “aims high” by getting into print the most interesting local writers and experts and tapping the striking creativity of Seattle today. It exhibits the spirit of “impatient optimism” by seeing this moment as full of opportunity rather than lamenting change and decline.

The members of the collective will meet regularly, likely each two weeks, for convivial sessions to talk about story ideas, debate the progress of the site, and to entice new members. (This meets another need of local writers, who miss the lively thrust and parry of newsrooms.)

The first year will be experimental: testing out formats, writers, performative journalism in public, gauging responses. No one is paid during this test-drive. At the end of the year, Post Alley will ponder financial sustainability (crowdfunding, angel-funding, membership dues, program-area funding). The goal is to raise the bar, have fun, and create a site that some of the region’s best writers and thinkers clamor to join.