Earlier this week, we made the very difficult decision to lay off The Seattle Globalist’s Executive Director Travis Quezon. This follows the difficult decision we made earlier this fall to lay off Editorial Director Venice Buhain, Operations & Development Associate Ann Lowe and Education Manager Rezina Habtemariam.
As an organization, we’ve run out of money to support any staff.
That was blunt, so here’s some context: The Seattle Globalist’s financial crisis built slowly. The organization spun off from the University of Washington two years ago, and at that time we faced several daunting tasks: we went through our first-ever leadership transition, had to manage operations independently, and were trying to raise about twice as much money as we had in the past. Over the course of 2019 we came to realize we might not be able to meet our ambitious fundraising goals. We cut costs and tried new things to raise funds.
Then we entered December – a crucial month for fundraising for any nonprofit. With funds running low, some unexpected bills were enough to drain the organization’s remaining resources and then some. We reached an urgent decision point and decided that it was no longer responsible or fair to employ any staff.
Despite those challenges, in 2019 The Seattle Globalist continued to provide apprenticeship programs for emerging journalists, publish stories from our diverse communities, provide media literacy workshops, and create the environmental justice podcast Colors of Green.
In mainstream media, there is a lot of talk about immigrants and people of color, but often their own perspectives are left out of the conversation. The Seattle Globalist’s training and publishing opportunities create pathways for emerging journalists of color who might not have other opportunities to get started in journalism. We do that in the context of a city and a country where people of color are seriously under-represented in newsrooms and media companies. That has to change. We believe that journalism – when it truly represents the diversity of our communities – has the power to catalyze transformative change and build community power.
So what’s next for The Seattle Globalist? We plan to publish stories already in the works and see through educational programming that’s currently underway. Other than that, we don’t know. We are meeting as a board, consulting our partners, and discussing with our community members to decide the future of The Seattle Globalist.
This is where you come in. We do know that the next step starts with a conversation and we want you to be a part of it. Have ideas? Please share them. Want to help? Please reach out. (And thanks for your patience if we don’t reply as quickly as we’d like to). You can reach us at boardofdirectors@
One thing that is for sure, we need your support in this crucial time for The Seattle Globalist. We need to raise $10,000. Gifts through December 31st will be doubled with a match from NewsMatch. We’ve already received the first $1000 donation this morning from StudioToBe Seattle. Will you consider making a gift today?
Your gift will help us cover expenses: to meet our obligations to the incredible people who have done work for the Globalist, and keep the lights on while we figure out the future.
Thank you to our departing Executive Director Travis Quezon for all of his work and dedication to The Seattle Globalist, as well as former Editorial Director Venice Buhain, Operations & Development Associate Ann Lowe, Education Manager Rezina Habtemariam, and the many other past staff, program leaders, volunteers, writers, readers and donors who have built this organization.
The Seattle Globalist Board of Directors