State Relations

September 8, 2008

Capitol Press Corps Suffers Another Blow

I meant to note this on the blog last week, but I got so darned sick on Friday I actually had to go home (and that last happened around Thanksgiving in 1990 — I think).

David Postman, chief political reporter for the Seattle Times and a fixture in Olympia for years is leaving the profession.  Postman announced on his “Postman on Politics” blog last Friday afternoon that he has accepted a new position as head of media relations for Vulcan Inc. — Paul Allen’s development company which among other projects, is transforming the Seattle South Lake Union area where UW Medicine is successfully expanding much of their biomedical research enterprise.

I first met Dave when he was a reporter for the Tacoma News Tribune where he worked briefly after moving to Washington from Alaska where he covered their state government.  He quickly got picked up by the Seattle Times and for the next several years, we developed a good relationship given his interest in the state budget process (I was on Ways and Means staff at the time).  David was hard working (I mean really, really hard working), thorough, always interested in getting beyond just the obvious story line and we shared a pretty similar sense of humor and impressions of the state political scene.

So how much did David like to get the scoop?  Not long after I was named to my current UW position, I was driving home to Olympia after a men’s basketball game in March 2004 and I get a phone call from Postman. “Hey” he says, “rumor has it the Board of Regents have decided on a new president and they’re going to announce it tomorrow.  Can you confirm what I have found out?”  “Dave,” I said “you don’t cover higher ed, why do you care?”  “It’s a hot story and I’m helping out a co-reporter,” he says.  “So, Randy, can you confirm the new president is Mark Emmert, the chancellor of LSU?”  “Who’s Mark Emmert?” I said back.  To be totally honest, I knew an announcement was going to be made but I didn’t have a clue who was going to get the job and I was so new to higher ed and the UW, I barely knew all the members of the current administration.  But Postman knew already, because he is that good.

David’s best quality was and is his intellect and curiosity about a wide variety of topics.  You can see it in the range of issues and subjects that are covered in his widely read and highly respected blog.  It’s informative, interesting, insightful and often quite funny.  Those of us who dabble in this very new medium are really just trying to keep up with Postman most of the time. 

This is truly a changing of the guard here in the capitol press corps (especially when combined with Ralph Thomas’ previously announced departure).  Change is inevitable and part of the process and I’m sure Dave is truly looking forward to his new career where I’m sure he will be very successful.

Best of luck Panis.  “Ca plane pour moi”