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Monday, August 20, 2012

Longtime Reporter Rick Anderson "Let Go" from Seattle Weekly, Says Village Voice Media Is Targeting "Higher-Salaried Vets"

Posted by on Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Romenesko says Anderson, who worked at the Weekly for 15 years, now doesn't. No comment from the Weekly or Anderson yet, but the move appears to be part of widespread layoffs across the Village Voice Media chain.

Experienced writers at VVM-owned weeklies in New York, Phoenix, and Orange County have been axed. Same story in Minneapolis, where an "especially aggressive newshound" named Gregory Pratt was recently let go from the VVM-owned City Pages. The editor there says they'll fill the void with "pitches from the community," paid for with a newly bumped-up freelance budget.

UPDATE: Anderson writes, via e-mail:

I'm limited by a separation agreement. But:I can point out the obvious: this latest round of VVM economic cutbacks in part targeted higher-salaried vets like myself and Paul Rubin in Arizona. As someone pointed out on Romenesko, we were two of just six writers included in a VVM anthology, the corporation's first e-book. It was released in May. Then we were released in August. That's what it takes to stay alive, I guess.

That's the business today. Writing has its up and downs, and, frequently now, its outs. It will take a little getting used to, but you come back. I freelanced after I quit the [Seattle] Times in 1991, and it proved to be a good thing, so I'm back at it—I left SW on good terms and plan to write some for them as well—and have some more books in the works.

P.S. I just updated my Amazon.com bio, adding the word "occasionally" to the last line. ("He writes occasionally for Seattle Weekly.")

FURTHER UPDATE: Mike Seely, the Weekly's editor in chief, writes:

I have been in touch with Rick and saw his response to you. I'd like to echo that his departure was on good terms and his byline will still appear in our pages quite frequently. In fact, he's working on a feature for September right now.

I asked Seely how many full-time writers he has left. He sent me a list of 11 people, including himself, who "are all full-time editorial (or very close to it)." I asked him whether, just like the VVM-owned paper in Minneapolis, the Seattle Weekly has received a bumped-up freelance budget as salaried reporters are being let go across the company. Seely replied:

Our freelance budget has indeed received a bit of a boost, certainly enough to keep Rick in circulation if he'd like to be—and he's given me every indication that he would. We will absolutely be able to continue with a staff this small. As for Rick's bit about he and Rubin, it's true that they're both departing the papers and were among our higher-salaried and tenured writers. But there were also several lightly tenured/lower paid writers who were let go or left other papers.

 

Comments (12) RSS

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Frank Blethen's vodka distiller 1
Anderson was a Seattle Times columnist before working for the Weekly. Sad to see his career declining further.
Posted by Frank Blethen's vodka distiller on August 20, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
treacle 2
That took 6 years, after the original bloodletting at SW. I'm surprised Anderson managed to stay on this long, frankly. Who's next? Brian Miller?
Posted by treacle on August 20, 2012 at 12:27 PM · Report this
3
His writing only got better after he left the Times, and he penned a great book last year, Seattle Vice.

Posted by menace2society on August 20, 2012 at 12:33 PM · Report this
4
Echoing @3, Anderson's really good, always has been. I'm a try to be a more loyal reader of his.
Posted by gloomy gus on August 20, 2012 at 1:33 PM · Report this
5
It's highly hilarious that in this post, The Stranger bemoans the slow dying of traditional media
and in the VERY NEXT SLOG POST, The Stranger is looking for someone who wants to work 20 hours a week for free.
Posted by fetish on August 20, 2012 at 1:40 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 6
Maybe they could do like the former WaPo writers who founded Politico and reimagine news?

@5 for the insightful Economic Win of the Day!
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on August 20, 2012 at 2:08 PM · Report this
7
@3, please. Wrote, not "penned".
Posted by sarah70 on August 20, 2012 at 2:20 PM · Report this
8
Possibly Village Voice decided that anyone picking John Henry Browne for "best lawyer in Seattle" must lack the basic skills to be a reporter?
Posted by laugh riot on August 20, 2012 at 3:07 PM · Report this
9
He's the best if you're guilty - as almost all his clients are. That's why he got picked.
Posted by anotherattorney on February 16, 2013 at 12:06 PM · Report this
10
Rick Anderson also wrote like a gossip columnist and repeated lies.
Posted by ac (anonymous coward) on September 16, 2013 at 3:41 PM · Report this
11
Rick Slanderson wrote lies about others.
Posted by Hiccup on September 16, 2013 at 3:43 PM · Report this
12
Obviously you guys got caught at something by Anderson, one of the best/trusted journalists around.
Posted by rjump on December 5, 2013 at 11:37 AM · Report this

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