The Stranger (newspaper)

The Stranger (newspaper)

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The Stranger is an alternative weekly
Alternative weekly
An alternative newspaper is a type of newspaper, that eschews comprehensive coverage of general news in favor of stylized reporting, opinionated reviews and columns, investigations into edgy topics and magazine-style feature stories highlighting local people and culture. Their news coverage is more...

 newspaper in Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Seattle is the county seat of King County, Washington. With 608,660 residents as of the 2010 Census, Seattle is the largest city in the Northwestern United States. The Seattle metropolitan area of about 3.4 million inhabitants is the 15th largest metropolitan area in the country...

, USA. It runs a blog known as Slog.


The Stranger was founded by Tim Keck, who had previously co-founded the satirical newspaper The Onion
The Onion
The Onion is an American news satire organization. It is an entertainment newspaper and a website featuring satirical articles reporting on international, national, and local news, in addition to a non-satirical entertainment section known as The A.V. Club...

, and cartoonist James Sturm
James Sturm
James Sturm is an American cartoonist, Xeric Award-winner, and co-founder of the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont...

. Its first issue came out on September 23, 1991. The paper is distributed to local businesses, newsstands, and newspaper boxes free of charge every Thursday. It calls itself "Seattle's Only Newspaper," an expression of its disdain for Seattle's two dailies (the Seattle Times and the (now defunct print version of the) Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is an online newspaper and former print newspaper covering Seattle, Washington, United States, and the surrounding metropolitan area...

) and The Stranger's main rival, the Seattle Weekly
Seattle Weekly
Seattle Weekly is a freely distributed newspaper in Seattle, Washington, United States. It was founded by Darrell Oldham and David Brewster as The Weekly...

. The paper regularly covers Seattle City Council
Seattle City Council
The Seattle City Council is committed to ensuring that Seattle, Washington, is safe, livable and sustainable. Nine Councilmembers are elected to four-year terms in nonpartisan elections and represent the entire city, elected by all Seattle voters....


In its early days, The Stranger had a print run of 20,000, and was focused in Seattle's University District
University District, Seattle, Washington
The University District is a neighborhood in Seattle, Washington, so named because the main campus of the University of Washington is located there. The UW moved in two years after the area was annexed to Seattle, while much of the area was still clear cut forest or stump farmland...

. The paper was a single sheet wrapped around a wad of coupons for local businesses.


Its principal competitor is The Seattle Weekly
Seattle Weekly
Seattle Weekly is a freely distributed newspaper in Seattle, Washington, United States. It was founded by Darrell Oldham and David Brewster as The Weekly...

, a weekly newspaper in Seattle, owned by Village Voice Media.

Notable contributing writers

From April 4, 2001 to September 2007, the paper's editor-in-chief was Dan Savage
Dan Savage
Daniel Keenan "Dan" Savage is an American author, media pundit, journalist and newspaper editor. Savage writes the internationally syndicated relationship and sex advice column Savage Love. Its tone is frank in its discussion of sexuality, often humorous, and hostile to social conservatives, as in...

, an associate editor since its founding who made his name writing the paper's sarcastic and sometimes inflammatory sex advice column, Savage Love
Savage Love
Savage Love is a syndicated sex-advice column by Dan Savage. The column appears weekly in several dozen newspapers, mainly free newspapers in the US and Canada, but also newspapers in Europe and Asia...

, which has appeared in every issue of The Stranger since the beginning. In September 2007, Savage became the paper's editorial director and was replaced as editor-in-chief by 27-year-old Christopher Frizzelle, formerly the Books Editor (in 2003) and Arts Editor (from 2004 to 2007). The newspaper's managing editor is Bethany Jean Clement, formerly the managing editor of Seattle Weekly. Clement's essays in the restaurant section of the newspaper have been anthologized in Best Food Writing 2008 and Best Food Writing 2009.

Associate Editor Charles Mudede
Charles Mudede
Charles Tonderai Mudede is a writer, filmmaker, and leftwing cultural critic. Born into an educated Rhodesian family, he spent much of his childhood in the United States, only to return to the newly independent Zimbabwe in 1981...

 is the author of the weekly column Police Beat, which has been adapted to an indie film of the same title
Police Beat
Police Beat is a 2005 American crime film directed by Robinson Devor and written by Charles Mudede. It follows the life of an African-born Seattle bicycle officer simply known as "Z" for a week. While Z goes about on his policing duties, he finds himself mentally preoccupied with his girlfriend...

. Mudede also co-wrote the controversial movie Zoo
Zoo (film)
Sundance judges called it a "humanizing look at the life and bizarre death of a seemingly normal Seattle family man who met his untimely end after an unusual encounter with a horse"....

, a documentary about the life and death of Kenneth Pinyan
Kenneth Pinyan
The Enumclaw horse sex case was a 2005 incident in which Kenneth Pinyan , an American Boeing engineer residing in Gig Harbor, died from receiving anal sex with a stallion at a farm in an unincorporated area in King County, Washington, near the city of Enumclaw...

 who died in a bestiality accident in Enumclaw
Enumclaw, Washington
Enumclaw is a city in King County, Washington, United States. The population was 10,669 at the 2010 census.The Enumclaw Plateau, on which the city resides, was formed by a volcanic mudflow from Mount Rainier approximately 5,700 years ago....

 in July 2005. The paper's masthead also includes actor
An actor is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity...

-Monologist:A monologist is a solo artist who recites or gives dramatic readings from a monologue, soliloquy, poetry or work of literature for the entertainment of an audience...

 David Schmader, who writes a witty and appalled "news of the week" column called Last Days. When he runs low on space, the later days of the week are often filled with simply: "Nothing happened today." When a significant event occurs, Schmader might describe the event with "Nothing happened today, unless you count..."

Other writers closely associated with the newspaper include Sean Nelson
Sean Nelson
Sean Nelson is an American singer, songwriter, and keyboardist, notable as the frontman for the alternative rock group Harvey Danger.- Career :...

, lead singer of Seattle band Harvey Danger
Harvey Danger
Harvey Danger was an American indie rock band that formed in Seattle, Washington in 1993, and rose to prominence in 1998 with the single "Flagpole Sitta." On August 29, 2009, the band played its final show at the Crocodile Cafe in Seattle....

, formerly the Stranger's Film Editor and a staff writer, profiling the Portland, Oregon band the Decemberists and the pre-teen Seattle band Smoosh
Smoosh is an American indie pop band from Seattle, Washington. They have released three albums, She Like Electric, Free to Stay and Withershins, all of which were written and performed by singer/keyboardist Asya and her sister, drummer Chloe...

 when they landed a record deal. The Stranger's most prominent contributors include Sherman Alexie
Sherman Alexie
Sherman Joseph Alexie, Jr. is a writer, poet, filmmaker, and occasional comedian. Much of his writing draws on his experiences as a Native American. Two of Alexie's best known works are The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven , a book of short stories and Smoke Signals, a film...

, Charles D'Ambrosio
Charles D'Ambrosio
-Life:D'Ambrosio grew up in Seattle, Washington, and now lives in Portland, Oregon. He attended Oberlin College and graduated from the Iowa Writers Workshop, where he has been a visiting faculty member...

, Sarah Vowell, Dave Eggers
Dave Eggers
Dave Eggers is an American writer, editor, and publisher. He is known for the best-selling memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and for his more recent work as a screenwriter. He is also the co-founder of the literacy project 826 Valencia.-Life:Eggers was born in Boston, Massachusetts,...

, Jonathan Raban, Heather McHugh, Rebecca Brown, Edmund White, Gary Shteynhart, Miranda July, Tao Lin
Tao Lin
Tao Lin is an American writer. He was born of Taiwanese parents and grew up on the East Coast of the USA.He is the author of two novels, Eeeee Eee Eeee and Richard Yates ; a novella, Shoplifting from American Apparel ; a short story collection, Bed ; and two poetry collections, you are a little...

, Travis Jeppesen
Travis Jeppesen
Travis Jeppesen , Florida is an American novelist, poet, and art critic.He grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina and moved to New York City at the age of 17. He received his B.A. from The New School, where he studied literature and philosophy...

, Andrew Sullivan
Andrew Sullivan
Andrew Michael Sullivan is an English author, editor, political commentator and blogger. He describes himself as a political conservative. He has focused on American political life....

, Stacey Levine
Stacey Levine
Stacey Levine is an American novelist, short story author, and journalist. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, she attended The University of Missouri's journalism school and the University of Washington...

, and JT LeRoy
JT LeRoy
Jeremiah "Terminator" LeRoy was a pseudonym created by American writer Laura Albert. The name was used from 1996 on for publication in magazines such as Nerve and Shout NY. After his first novel Sarah was published, "LeRoy" started making public appearances...

. Previous staffers have included Emily White, who was editor-in-chief and has also authored the books Fast Girls: Teenage Tribes and the Myth of the Slut, (2002), and You Will Make Money in Your Sleep. The Story of Dana Giacchetto, Financial Adviser to the Stars (2007); Eric Fredericksen, who now runs the art space Western Bridge; the novelist Matthew Stadler
Matthew Stadler
Matthew Stadler is a writer and editor who lives in Portland, Oregon. He has written four novels and received several awards and fellowships in recognition of his work. More recently, he has compiled four anthologies about literature, city life and public life...

; Traci Vogel; the art critic Emily Hall; SP Miskowski; Everett True
Everett True
For the cartoon character, see The Outbursts of Everett True.Everett True is a British music journalist, who grew up in Chelmsford, Essex...

; Peri Pakroo; Matt Cook; Jonathan Hart Eddy; Christine Wenc, who edited the paper from 1992–1993, during which time the paper was included on Rolling Stone's Top 10 list for new alternative journalism; and Phillip Campbell. Writers for the paper in the early 1990s include Inga Muscio and Clark Humphrey.

The paper's News Editor is Dominic Holden. Previously, the position was held by Erica C. Barnett, who in 2007 was named reporter of the year by Seattle's venerable Municipal League. Barnett left the paper in 2009 to work for news web site, founded by former Stranger news editor Josh Feit. The paper's Visual Arts Editor is Jen Graves. The paper's Film Editor is Lindy West.

Stranger ombudsman
An ombudsman is a person who acts as a trusted intermediary between an organization and some internal or external constituency while representing not only but mostly the broad scope of constituent interests...

 A. Birch Steen writes acerbic criticism
Criticism is the judgement of the merits and faults of the work or actions of an individual or group by another . To criticize does not necessarily imply to find fault, but the word is often taken to mean the simple expression of an objection against prejudice, or a disapproval.Another meaning of...

 of the paper within every issue, usually assailing the contents for their extreme liberal bias. He is billed as a former member of the OSHA
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. It was created by Congress of the United States under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, signed by President Richard M. Nixon, on December 29, 1970...

 Board of Governors, but is likely a fictional character
Fictional character
A character is the representation of a person in a narrative work of art . Derived from the ancient Greek word kharaktêr , the earliest use in English, in this sense, dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749. From this, the sense of...

. The name is an anagram of Steinbacher, last name of Bradley Steinbacher, an employee of The Stranger's since the beginning and the paper's Managing Editor from 2003 until 2008. Steen's harsh critiques, originally appearing on the inside of the back page, now appear above the table of contents ("The Stranger: A Critical Overview")--the first piece of writing in every issue., and as the apparent author of the paper's twitter feed.


The Stranger has published original comics, illustrations, or graphic art by such notable cartoonists as Tony Millionaire
Tony Millionaire
Tony Millionaire is an American cartoonist, illustrator and author known for his syndicated comic strip Maakies and the Sock Monkey series of comics and picture books.-Early life:...

, Peter Bagge
Peter Bagge
Peter Bagge is an American cartoonist. He is the creator of Buddy Bradley, Hate, Neat Stuff, Martini Baton, and Sweatshop, Apocalypse Nerd and Other Lives. His stories often use black humor and exaggerated cartooning to dramatize the reduced expectations of middle-class American youth...

, Ellen Forney
Ellen Forney
Ellen Forney is a cartoonist and teacher based in Seattle, Washington, whose work has been published by Fantagraphics Books and The Stranger , among other publications. Her most recent collection is called Lust...

, Megan Kelso
Megan Kelso
Megan Kelso is an American comic book artist and writer.Kelso started working in the 1990s, with the minicomic Girlhero, which won her a Xeric Foundation grant in 1993. She has since published several other projects including Queen of the Black Black and The Squirrel Mother...

, Al Columbia
Al Columbia
Al Columbia is an American cartoonist, illustrator, writer, photographer, musician, and filmmaker.-Big Numbers controversy:At the age of 19 Columbia was hired to work as an assistant to Bill Sienkiewicz on Alan Moore's Big Numbers series...

, Chris Ware
Chris Ware
Franklin Christenson Ware , is an American comic book artist and cartoonist, widely known for his Acme Novelty Library series and the graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, he resides in the Chicago area, Illinois...

, R. Crumb, Jim Woodring
Jim Woodring
Jim Woodring is a Seattle-based cartoonist, comic book author, artist and toy designer. He also produces fine art works in a variety of other media, including painting and charcoal....

, and K. Thor Jensen. In addition, it was the only major Seattle paper to run any of the Jyllands-Posten
Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten , commonly shortened to Jyllands-Posten or JP, is a Danish daily broadsheet newspaper. It is based in Viby, a suburb of Århus, and with a weekday circulation of approximately 120,000 copies, it is among the largest-selling newspaper in Denmark...

Muhammad cartoons
Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy
The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy began after 12 editorial cartoons, most of which depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad, were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on 30 September 2005...

: four of them were used to illustrate an article by Bruce Bawer
Bruce Bawer
Bruce Bawer is an American literary critic, writer and poet. His work focuses mainly on criticism and issues related to Islam.-Personal life:Bawer received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D...

 about the controversy.

Awards programs

Since 2003, in association with the cigarette company Lucky Strike, and later the antismoking arts organization Art Patch, the newspaper has awarded the annual Stranger Genius Awards to four Seattle-area individuals and one Seattle-area arts organization. Besides the recognition, each winner receives a $5000 cash award and a cake. Winners of the award include the filmmaker James Longley, the filmmaker Lynn Shelton, the writer Sherman Alexie, the poet Heather McHugh, the actress Sarah Rudinoff, the experimental-theater collective Implied Violence, Strawberry Theatre Workshop
Strawberry Theatre Workshop
Strawberry Theatre Workshop is an award-winning Seattle theatre company founded in 2003 by Greg Carter, associated with a movement in that city to improve wages for professional theatre artists...

, the artist Jeffry Mitchell, and the artist Wynne Greenwood. A party and rock show for the winners is held every fall—past Stranger Genius Award parties have been held at the downtown public library, Seattle Art Museum, and the Moore Theater.


HUMP! (film festival)
The HUMP! annual film festival in Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, initiated in 2005, showcases home-movie erotica, amateur sex cinema, and locally produced pornography. Films are rated by the audience, and awards are given...

 film festival provides a venue and awards for home movie erotica. Founded in 2005 by Dan Savage, Hump has since become an annual event that has gained international condemnation from religious fundamentalists
Fundamentalism is strict adherence to specific theological doctrines usually understood as a reaction against Modernist theology. The term "fundamentalism" was originally coined by its supporters to describe a specific package of theological beliefs that developed into a movement within the...

 and second wave feminists
Second-wave feminism
The Feminist Movement, or the Women's Liberation Movement in the United States refers to a period of feminist activity which began during the early 1960s and lasted through the early 1990s....



  • On the Halloween
    Hallowe'en , also known as Halloween or All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31, the night before All Saints' Day...

     prior to the 2008 elections the Stranger published a parody in its series, Topography of Terror, which included the addresses of homes displaying Republican yard signs. The controversy was then mentioned in a Saturday Night Live
    Saturday Night Live
    Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

     skit about internet conspiracy theories about Democrat intimidation of elderly Republican voters. The alt weekly later blacked out the addresses on the online version of its story, after charges of voter intimidation.

See also

  • The Portland Mercury
    The Portland Mercury
    The Portland Mercury is an alternative weekly newspaper published in Portland, Oregon. It serves to chronicle the ever-changing Portland music scene, and generally includes interviews, commentaries, reviews, and concert dates...

    , the Stranger's sister publication based out of Portland, Oregon
    Portland, Oregon
    Portland is a city located in the Pacific Northwest, near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 Census, it had a population of 583,776, making it the 29th most populous city in the United States...


External links