Brier Dudley is the editor of The Seattle Times Save the Free Press Initiative. He has been with the Times for over 23 years. Before his current role, Brier was an editorial board member and wrote a column on technology.
What originally drew you to journalism?
Spending time with friends working on the student-run newspaper at my college. After graduation, I did various jobs and enjoyed Seattle until I was finally hired by a weekly paper. The old Times building had marks from my clawing for years to get in — until I was eventually hired to cover Redmond from the late, great Eastside bureau.
What inspired you to join the Save the Free Press Initiative?
We’re all in trouble if there aren’t trusted, professional sources of local news. I’m grateful for the opportunity to help address the journalism crisis and advocate for solutions.
How has your experience covering the technology industry influenced your current role as the Free Press editor?
Covering the tech industry was good preparation because it involves reporting and explaining complicated things that have a big effect on people’s lives. Policy issues also overlap, like antitrust, but maybe the biggest influence is knowing that the tech industry isn’t monolithic or simple to characterize.
What are currently the most serious threats to the free press? What are things that give you hope?
The disrupted business model – with no clear replacement to amply fund local, independent journalism – is the biggest threat. There are glimmers of hope in news organizations that are figuring out a path forward. But what mostly gives me hope is hearing from so many people, young and old, who want the free press to survive and thrive.
Thinking back over your career, what articles have been your favorite or most rewarding?
I enjoyed breaking the news that the Space Needle was, indeed, rotating faster! The most rewarding, though, were stories of families from Mexico and India who came to work in Washington state and returned to improve their home countries. Those articles helped readers better understand immigration debates in the 1990s and 2000s and how their communities were changing.
Outside of work, what is something you’d like readers to know about you?
After spending a decade reviewing and writing about gadgets, I have a spectacular collection of mysterious electronic cables. I could spend the rest of my life trying to figure out their origins.