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‘Let’s Suck This Week Less Than We Did Last Week’: An Oral History of The Stranger

Amber Cortes | The Stranger | October 12, 2016 | 3,636 words

Twenty-five years after its debut, here is the story of an independent newspaper in Seattle that spawned Dan Savage and won a Pulitzer Prize.

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‘Let’s Suck This Week Less Than We Did Last Week’: An Oral History of The Stranger

Twenty-five years after its debut, here is the story of an independent newspaper in Seattle that spawned Dan Savage and won a Pulitzer Prize.
(Left to right) Nancy Hartunian, Tim Keck, Dan Savage, Sean Hurley, James Sturm.

Amber Cortes | The Stranger | October 2016 | 15 minutes (3,636 words)

The StrangerTo celebrate its 25th anniversary, we’re proud to partner with The Stranger in featuring their oral history about the early days of the pioneering (and Pulitzer Prize-winning) independent newspaper. Read more from their 25th anniversary celebration here.

In July of 1991, Tim Keck moved to Seattle from Madison, Wisconsin, to launch a newspaper. He’d recruited a handful of friends and colleagues from the Onion, the satirical weekly he’d cofounded and recently sold (yes, that Onion), to help him conceive a new, irreverent publication—one which sent-up the weekly newspaper format and had equal doses of reporting and criticism as it did satire.

Among those who joined him were James Sturm, Peri Pakroo, Nancy Hartunian, Wm. Steven Humphrey, Christine Wenc, Johanna “Jonnie” Wilder, Matt Cook, Andy Spletzer, and, later, Dan Savage.

Armed mostly with hubris, a few thousand dollars, and three slow-as-fuck computers, they initially set their sights on appealing to University of Washington students, but quickly found their real audience among the queers and weirdos who (used to) populate Capitol Hill. Their coverage of Seattle was necessarily informed by their perspective as outsiders, transplants… (are you really going to make me say it?) strangers.

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