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A Good Day for Local Journalism: KCTS Merges With Crosscut and What's Good 206

December 2, 2015

Over the past week, there has been a loud expression of outrage and disappointment about the proposed sale of KPLU to KUOW. Loyal KPLU listeners and supporters are not only upset about the sale but also about losing the award-winning KPLU news staff. Once again, the headline is that local journalism is taking yet another big hit.

Not today.

In fact, local journalism and content are getting a much needed boost. KCTS 9 announced today that it is merging with, the award-winning, daily news website. Crosscut was founded eight years ago to provide in-depth coverage of Northwest issues. It has done just that, and done it well, with first rate reporting on politics, public policy, social issues, Northwest history, arts and culture. The merger brings great value to this region as it helps to preserve Crosscut while, at the same time, setting the stage for the expansion of independent regional journalism.

Along with the Crosscut merger, KCTS 9 is acquiring What’s Good 206, an emerging website that presents a millennial perspective on issues in the Northwest. It is an opportunity to bring a younger voice to coverage of local issues and for development of the next generation of storytellers.

So, why is this good for the supporters of KCTS 9, Crosscut, and What’s Good 206? It means that local journalism and creation of local content will grow. There will be more local storytelling on-air, online and in the community.

Today, the commitment to public media, quality journalism and local content is alive and well. It is a good day. 

For more information on this merger, click here

Enrique Cerna is the Director of Community Partnerships and an award-winning producer, reporter and host at KCTS 9.


Enrique Cerna

The son of Mexican immigrants, Enrique Cerna was born and raised in the Yakima Valley.  Enrique joined KCTS 9 in January, 1995. He has anchored current affairs programs, moderated statewide political debates, produced and reported stories for national PBS programs in addition to local documentaries on social and juvenile justice, the environment and Latinos in Washington State.

Enrique has earned nine Northwest Emmy Awards and numerous other honors. In June, 2013, he was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Northwest Chapter’s Silver Circle for his work as a television professional.

More stories by Enrique Cerna

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Interesting that your spin is to throw KPLU under the bus to make this deal look positive. Crosscut has spend the last few days lambasting the sale of KPLU, only to turn around and be purchased by an organization that slashed its own staff earlier this year... as a reminder, this line from April in the Seattle PI: "The Seattle public TV station KCTS-9 has laid off most of its production staff, including employees who have spent 30-plus years with the station, as part of a plan to shove locally produced series off the television screen and onto digital media... KCTS has faced a problem. Its audience is getting old, but includes old faithful contributors." Interestingly the exact, and valid, argument made by those involved in the KPLU sale.

In 1998 I presented in a series of all staff meetings one picture of the future for public TV and specifically KCTS. There were several hiccups along the way due to one key figure who was corrupt and several who were lacking any vision beyond the KCTS sand box who blocked change. My vision was incomplete and only barely understood the dynamic wave of change that has happened.

BUT At that time we said plainly the insulated world linear broadcasting would change, the public media product would need to change and the new emerging audience needed to be served on their terms.

I don't know the inner workings of the station and while I was sad for friends who lost their jobs earlier this year - I am excited by this new turn of events. The age of Public TV as a presenter of tired British programming, self-indulgent creativity, tired cooking shows and seriously sad infomercials for pop philosophy/medicine/psychology is (hopefully and at last) coming to an end.