|Owner(s)||Index Newspapers, LLC|
|Founded||September 23, 1991|
|Headquarters||1535 11th Ave., Third Floor|
Seattle, Washington 98122
The Stranger was founded by Tim Keck, who had previously co-founded the satirical newspaper The Onion, and cartoonist James Sturm. Its first issue came out on September 23, 1991. 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 edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer) and The Strangers main rival, the Seattle Weekly. The paper regularly covers Seattle City Council politics.
On April 16, 2012, The Stranger won its first Pulitzer Prize. Eli Sanders won in the Feature Writing category for "The Bravest Woman In Seattle," which the citation describes as "a haunting story of a woman who survived a brutal attack that took the life of her partner, using the woman's brave courtroom testimony and the details of the crime to construct a moving narrative." The feature appeared in the June 15, 2011 edition.
The Stranger made the transition to a biweekly magazine-style format with their September 27, 2017 issue. The paper is distributed to local businesses, newsstands, and newspaper boxes free of charge every other Wednesday.
From April 4, 2001, to September 2007, the paper's editor-in-chief was Dan Savage, an associate editor since its founding who made his name writing the paper's sarcastic and sometimes inflammatory sex advice column, Savage Love, which has appeared in every issue of The Stranger. In September 2007, Savage became the paper's editorial director and was replaced as editor-in-chief by then-27-year-old Christopher Frizzelle, formerly the Books Editor (in 2003) and Arts Editor (from 2004 to 2007). Frizzelle was replaced by Tricia Romano in July 2016. Romano was previously a staff reporter at the Seattle Times and had been a columnist at The Village Voice in New York for eight years. Tricia Romano left the paper in June 2017. The paper does not currently have an editor-in-chief. Christopher Frizzelle acts as the print editor and Chase Burns is the digital editor.
The newspaper's current managing editor is Leilani Polk, who replaced Kathleen Richards. The previous managing editor was Bethany Jean Clement, who was 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 was the author of the weekly column Police Beat, which has been adapted to an indie film of the same title. Mudede also co-wrote the controversial movie Zoo, a documentary about the life and death of Kenneth Pinyan who died in a bestiality incident in Enumclaw, Washington, in July 2005. The Arts and Music editor is Sean Nelson, lead singer of Seattle band Harvey Danger, formerly the Stranger's Film Editor and a staff writer, profiling the Portland, Oregon band the Decemberists and the pre-teen Seattle band Smoosh when they landed a record deal.
Other writers closely associated with the newspaper include Sherman Alexie, Charles D'Ambrosio, Sarah Vowell, Dave Eggers, Jonathan Raban, Heather McHugh, Rebecca Brown, Edmund White, Gary Shteyngart, Miranda July, Tao Lin, Travis Jeppesen, Andrew Sullivan, Stacey Levine, and JT LeRoy. Previous staffers have included actor/monologist David Schmader, who wrote a "news of the week" column called Last Days, 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 went on to run the art space Western Bridge; the novelist Matthew Stadler; Traci Vogel; the art critic Emily Hall; SP Miskowski; Everett True; 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; Danny Housman (music editor 1993-1995); and Phillip Campbell. Writers for the paper in the early 1990s include Inga Muscio, Catholic Activist Thomas E. Byers and Clark Humphrey. The Stranger won its first ever journalism award in 1995 under News Editor George Howland Jr. when contributing writer Lewis Kamb exposed the financial shenanigans of Seattle's chapter of Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA).
New York Times Best Seller and 2012 National Book Award Finalist Domingo Martinez, author of The Boy Kings of Texas, worked on staff in the production department from 1993 through 1996 as a production designer, but never wrote for the publication.
News reporters include Heidi Groover and Lester Black. The paper does not currently have a news editor. Previously, the position was held by Steven Hsieh, Dominic Holden, and Eli Sanders. Prior to Dominic Holden was 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 Publicola.net, founded by former Stranger news editor Josh Feit.
Other staff writers include Dave Segal, Rich Smith, and Katie Herzog.
Stranger ombudsman A. Birch Steen wrote acerbic criticism of the paper within every issue, usually assailing the contents for their extreme liberal bias. He was billed as a former member of the OSHA Board of Governors, but was likely a fictional character. The name is an anagram of Steinbacher, last name of Bradley Steinbacher (an employee of The Stranger since the beginning), the paper's Managing Editor from 2003 until 2008. Steen's harsh critiques, originally appeared on the inside of the back page, and later above the table of contents ("The Stranger: A Critical Overview") and as the apparent author of the paper's Twitter feed. Steen died on Monday, April 16, 2012, after suffering a stroke.
The Stranger has published original comics, illustrations, or graphic art by such notable cartoonists as Tony Millionaire, Peter Bagge, Ellen Forney, Megan Kelso, Al Columbia, Chris Ware, R. Crumb, Jim Woodring, and K. Thor Jensen. In addition, it was the only major Seattle paper to run any of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons: four of them were used to illustrate an article by Bruce Bawer about the controversy.
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, 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.
On the Halloween 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 sketch about internet conspiracy theories about Democratic intimidation of elderly Republican voters.The Stranger later blacked out the addresses on the online version of its story, after charges of voter intimidation.