News Release

January 17, 2003
Kerry Coughlin
Corporate Communications Manager
The Seattle Times
206/464-3318
kcoughlin@seattletimes.com

THE SEATTLE TIMES ADDS UNIQUE YOUTH-ORIENTED OPINION PAGE AND WEB SITE


On January 26, The Seattle Times will launch NEXT, an innovative weekly opinion page written by and for young adults. Located on the back page of the Sunday Opinion section, NEXT will offer a unique forum for lively, smart political and social commentary by writers in the 17 - 25 age group.

"It's something no other metropolitan newspaper is doing," said James Vesely, Editorial Page Editor of The Seattle Times. "This is not a teen page. It's vital, vibrant commentary by people whose lives are affected by these issues."

An expanded version of NEXT will be on The Seattle Times Web site. Located at seattletimes.com/next, the site will be closely integrated with the print version of NEXT. The Web site will feature additional commentary and reader letters. A key aspect of the site will be interactive debate - giving readers the opportunity to participate in ongoing dialogues. The online version of NEXT will also feature links to additional resources and interesting Web sites.

Unlike many youth-oriented newspapers and sections around the country, NEXT will not be produced by veteran editors putting a hip spin on regular content or focusing on nightclubs and the music scene. It will be written exclusively by younger contributors focusing on thoughtful opinion.

NEXT will be led by Colleen Pohlig, Assistant Editorial Page Editor at The Seattle Times. A graduate of the University of Oregon's School of Journalism, Pohlig worked at the Yakima Herald-Republic and as an education reporter at The Seattle Times before taking on NEXT. Pohlig will oversee all content, working closely with an advisory board made up of seven non-news staffers from The Seattle Times - including three members of the fifth generation of the Blethen family, owners of The Seattle Times.

Pohlig's goal for NEXT is to earn a reputation as "the smartest, most edgy and provocative forum for young people's opinions in the Northwest."

Twenty-three young freelancers from the Puget Sound area were carefully selected from nearly 400 applicants to be regular contributors to NEXT. They reflect a wide diversity of gender, socio-economic background, ethnicity, education, interests and political viewpoint. They range from a liberal college junior interested in social justice, the environment and tango dancing to a conservative high school senior who teaches Sunday school and tracks state and federal funding. Some are young professionals. These writers will speak their minds on everything from a potential war with Iraq to affirmative action on campuses to current political party agendas. Profiles are posted at seattletimes.com/next.

Though written from the perspective of those who have been dubbed Gen Y, NEXT will be of interest to readers of all ages who want to know what thoughtful and engaged members of the next generation are thinking and how they are contributing to our community.

The Seattle Times Company is a 106-year-old locally owned family business. Founded in 1896 by Alden J. Blethen, The Seattle Times is a fourth and fifth generation family business. The family's flagship newspaper, The Seattle Times, is the largest daily newspaper in Washington state (532,000 readership) and the largest Sunday newspaper in the Northwest (1,035,000 readership). Other Blethen-owned newspapers in Washington are the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Yakima Herald-Republic and Issaquah Press. The company also owns Blethen Maine Newspapers: The Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram; Kennebec Journal, in Augusta; Morning Sentinel, in Waterville; and Coastal Journal, in Bath. The company owns four Web sites: seattletimes.com, NWclassifieds.com, NWsource.com and MaineToday.com.