The Art of Journalism

Thirty years ago in Seattle Weekly.

Though it wasn't billed as such, Seattle Weekly's first Labor Day issue (Sept. 1, 1976) established the tradition of putting the emphasis on arts and culture in the first issue of the fall. Our cover subject was the Seattle Symphony's first new conductor in 22 years, the handsome, youthful German maestro Rainer Miedel. (Miedel fell victim soon after to incurable cancer. His replacement, Gerard Schwarz, is about to celebrate his own 22nd season with the orchestra. He's got another four years on his current contract, so he looks to be a shoo-in to beat the late Milton Katims' endurance contest.)

On the other end of the book, business writer Bill Cushing took on the controversial redevelopment plan for Pike Place. His kicker for the article sums it up nicely: "They've been saving the Market for so many years that they may have gone too far." (The development, which included an element of high-rise gentrification on the Market footprint, was quashed by public protest, led by Seattle architectural conscience, the late and sorely missed Victor Steinbrueck.)

The sports pages bewailed the Sounders soccer team's lousy season and the promising rise of our new football team, the Seahawks. And our esteemed film writer Richard T. Jameson reviewed Brian de Palma's new thriller Obsession, capturing the virtues and vices of this ever-promising, rarely delivering filmmaker as well as anyone ever has. Of course, we gave him 1,600 words to do it. Try getting that kind of space for a non-blockbuster film review in any medium these days.

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