Speculation about the imminent demise of Seattle Weekly revved up again yesterday following yesterday's public resignation announcements from two of its prominent staffers, Culture & Comix editor Kelton Sears and staff reporter Casey Jaywork.
Those announcements came after weeks of rumors among staff and advertisers that the Weekly would soon fold, or be forced to operate with a reduced staff, syndicated copy, and no Seattle office—much like the other papers published by its Canadian parent company, Black Media, which puts out over 40 newspapers in Washington state alone, including the Renton Reporter, the Forks Forum, and the Snoqualmie Valley Record.
The grimmest rumor was that the majority of the editorial staff, as well as many staffers from other departments, were on the verge of being laid off.
Weekly editor-in-chief Mark Baumgarten denies the rumors that the 41-year-old paper is on the brink of going under, but declined to elaborate much, or offer too many details.
"The fact is that the Weekly is changing, not folding," he wrote me in a text message. "As part of that change a number of new positions were created while others were eliminated. In some cases those who held jobs that were eliminated were offered new positions. Some took them, others didn't."
Baumgarten declined to go into any further specifics about staffing, though he did add that he is "incredibly proud of the work that my staff has done over these last couple years. It has been an honor to work with them" and that "those staying on at the Weekly will continue to make this city and region a better place. I have no doubt."
He also confirmed that he is staying on as editor-in-chief, a position he has held since March, 2013. He then added that more information about what he called "the new Weekly" will be coming out over the next week.
As for the rumors that the new Weekly wouldn't have arts coverage or an in-house editorial staff, Baumgarten said that "there will be a print product. It will contain original writing and reporting, and there will be arts content."
When I asked if the Weekly would be leaving its office in Pioneer Square, he declined to comment.