One hundred and six years old in her present incarnation and comfortably ensconced as Seattle's dominant daily newspaper, Fairview Fanny--as the Seattle Times is nicknamed--has long had a well-deserved reputation as the blue-haired, frumpy, and oh-so-proper matron of Seattle media. She is not about radical, newfangled changes, young man, and she certainly does not, as America's uncouth youth are wont to say, get jiggy with it.

And while others may have known it a decade or more ago, even she now realizes that not getting jiggy with it is a problem, perhaps ultimately a fatal one. In the face of bleak demographic data indicating that daily-newspaper readers are aging into senility--the same doom-laden data that is prompting a top-to-bottom redesign of the rival Seattle Post-Intelligencer ["Post-Intelligent Design," Sandeep Kaushik, Nov 14] and the introduction of frothy youth tabloids in Chicago--the Seattle Times brain trust has begun to plan changes of its own.

The paper will, starting next January, woo Seattle's fickle and pomposity-averse under-25 set with its own Sunday page of Gen-Y commentary, produced by 15 to 20 freelancers all between the ages of 17 and 25. It is a small step, admits Colleen Pohlig, the 30-year-old Times assistant editorial page editor in charge of the effort (hopefully dubbed project NEXT), given the dimensions of the problem.

Of course Fanny, a grand old society party dame, is not about to kick over the tea table, mainline a truckload of Botox, and leap headlong into the mosh pit of youth culture. After all, she has her dignity to consider.

It was a plan hatched several years ago, Pohlig adds, but was delayed by the recent bitter newspaper strike and the declining economy. It will "not be a teen page," but will provide "smart political and social commentary," she assures. "We want an edgy product, though this will still be the Seattle Times." In other words, no cursing in the presence of a lady.

But this change is just the beginning, Pohlig firmly states: "Ideally over time we'll begin to think in a broader way not just about commentary, but about how we cover news generally. The first step is to do this." Godspeed, young Colleen, Godspeed.

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