Hello! And goodbye. After more than 15 years writing for The Stranger, it’s time for something new.
We’re in the middle of a brutal pandemic, a horrible west coast fire season, a racial justice reckoning, and our country’s latest rush toward a constitutional crisis, so I won’t waste your time with the tale of how I reached my own little private fork in the road. It wasn’t anything dire or even that unusual. Just life pointing clearly in a different direction.
I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in this weird and special place, I’m mostly proud of what I made of those opportunities, and just so no one gets it twisted: I wouldn’t believe any writer who said they’re 100 percent proud of anything, ever.
I’d also only half believe it if you said you’re up for taking a quick nostalgia trip with me, but—shall we? The last 15 or so years have been quite a ride, they trace a particular corner of a wild journalism era, and because of this pandemic people as young as me have to do their Stranger retirement parties online or nowhere at all. Governor’s orders.
Back in ye olden times of 2003, The Stranger was an “alt” newspaper that published once a week. Slog didn’t exist. Neither did Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. I was 25 years old and for a freelance piece, the paper flew me halfway around the world to write about the death of Olympia activist Rachel Corrie in the Gaza Strip. I soon found myself in a landscape of martyrs, zealots, bigots, anarchists, and people carrying guns—great preparation, in retrospect, for Seattle in 2020. Before long I was on staff, writing long features and covering politics.
I went inside the death of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, wrote about a forgotten shooting at Garfield High School, and covered the gay marriage wars.
I exposed the hypocrisy of a Washington State Supreme Court Justice. I watched the first Obama campaign take off in Iowa. I reconstructed the downfall of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.
I also took to writing about trials. One involved a hate crime committed by three Evangelical men from rural Washington. Another involved a completely bonkers newspaper war in San Francisco.
During a very different trial, I wrote about one woman’s brave testimony against the man who raped her and killed her partner. I later wrote a book about the crime, the paths of all three people involved, and the wider lessons of that Seattle tragedy.
I went searching for Richard Spencer, sat between Charles Mudede and Cliff Mass, toured Seattle’s "secret beaches," and did a triathlon of sorts that left me with this picture. I hosted a podcast (RIP, Blabbermouth), Slogged countless Slogs, and took a photo of a Tea Party protest that ended up becoming a Stranger cover.
Most recently, I exposed how Facebook and Google flout Washington state campaign finance law, leading (so far) to two lawsuits against Facebook by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and one against Google.
It’s this standoff—between the people’s lawyer in Washington state and two of the biggest tech behemoths in the world—that I’m going to keep chronicling and peeling apart in my next project. It may sound a little AOL 1996, but I’m launching an email newsletter and I hope you’ll sign up for it here, where all is explained.
THANK YOU for reading, whether over the years or just right now, thank you for coming to my Stranger retirement party—***held at a time when I am still very distant from Medicare and Social Security checks!***—and good luck and good energy to everyone who keeps the addled heart of The Stranger beating in these challenging times.