The Stranger (newspaper)

The Stranger is an alternative biweekly newspaper in Seattle, Washington, U.S. The paper's principal competitor is The Seattle Weekly, owned by Sound Publishing, Inc.[1] It has a progressive orientation.[2]

The Stranger
TypeAlternative weekly
Owner(s)Index Newspapers, LLC
PublisherRobert Crocker
FoundedSeptember 23, 1991; 32 years ago (1991-09-23)
Political alignmentProgressive
Headquarters800 Maynard Ave S., Ste. 200
Seattle, Washington 98134



The Stranger was founded in July 1991 by Tim Keck, who had previously co-founded the satirical newspaper The Onion, and cartoonist James Sturm. Its first issue was produced out of a home in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood and was released on September 23, 1991.[3][4][5] The newspaper's title reflected the fact that Keck had almost no connection to Seattle prior to launching the paper.[5] In 1993, The Stranger relocated to Seattle's Capitol Hill district, where its offices remained until 2020.[6] The Stranger's tagline is "Seattle's Only Newspaper".

In its early days, The Stranger had a print run of 20,000, and focused on Seattle's University District.[3] It was originally distributed as a single sheet of newsprint wrapped around a wad of coupons redeemable at local businesses.

Dan Savage was the Stranger's editor-in-chief from April 4, 2001, to September 2007. Associated with the paper since its inception, he made a national reputation writing the paper's sarcastic and sometimes inflammatory sex advice column, "Savage Love", which has since appeared in every issue of The Stranger.[7] Savage became the paper's editorial director in 2007, and was replaced as editor-in-chief by Christopher Frizzelle.[8]

Erica C. Barnett, who was an early news editor for the paper, was named reporter of the year in 2007 by Seattle's Municipal League.[9]

On April 16, 2012, The Stranger won a Pulitzer Prize. Eli Sanders was awarded a Pulitzer in the "feature writing" category for "The Bravest Woman in Seattle",[10] described 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.[11] In 2014, columnist Jen Graves was a Pulitzer finalist for her criticism columns.[12]

Since at least 2013 The Stranger has been owned by the Seattle-based Index Newspapers; it has been described as distinguishing itself from the Weekly by its continuous local ownership.[5] By 2015, the influence of the paper's endorsements in local elections, which reflect a left-leaning perspective was being felt.[13]

The Stranger made the transition to a biweekly magazine-style format with its September 27, 2017, issue.[14] The paper was distributed to local businesses, newsstands, and newspaper boxes free of charge every other Wednesday. The offices of The Stranger moved from Capitol Hill to Seattle's Chinatown–International District in 2020.[15]

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 13, 2020, The Stranger announced that, due to a dramatic decrease in income from loss of advertising revenue, it would suspend its print edition. COVID-19 triggered The Stranger to lay off eighteen of its employees, which reduced its writing department. A successful online fundraiser was then organized to keep The Stranger afloat.[16][17] Printing resumed in March 2023 with a quarterly arts magazine, while regular editions remain suspended.[18]

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.[19] 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.[20] 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.

See also



  1. ^ Seattle Weekly Archived June 16, 2010, at the Wayback Machine at
  2. ^ "Push for WA Democrats to vote 'uncommitted' instead of for Biden in March 12 primary picks up steam". The Seattle Times. February 29, 2024. Retrieved April 24, 2024.
  3. ^ a b Wilma, David. The Stranger begins publication in Seattle on September 23, 1991.,, essay 3506, August 22, 2001. Web page also includes a facsimile of the front page of The Stranger's first issue. Accessed October 19, 2006.
  4. ^ Cortes, Amber (October 12, 2016). "An Oral History of the First Year of The Stranger". The Stranger. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Bagwell, Steve; Stapilus, Randy (2013). New Editions: The Northwest's newspapers as they were, are, and will be. Carlton, Oregon: Ridenbaugh Press. p. 260. ISBN 978-0-945648-10-9. OCLC 861618089.
  6. ^ Fredericksen, Eric (October 12, 2016). "1991-1998: An Alternative History of the '90s". The Stranger. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  7. ^ Murphy, Eileen (May 9, 2001). "Dan Savage takes editorial reins at The Stranger". Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Retrieved October 19, 2006.
  8. ^ Hackett, Regina (September 18, 2007). "The Stranger in charge". Art to Go. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Archived from the original on August 10, 2007. Retrieved September 18, 2007.
  9. ^ "2007 Civic Awards". Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved December 15, 2008.
  10. ^ Sanders, Eli (June 15, 2011), "The Bravest Woman in Seattle" (PDF), The 2012 Pulitzer Prize Winners; Feature Writing, Columbia University
  11. ^ Pulitzer Prizes awarded to Seattle Times, The Stranger Archived April 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. King5. April 16, 2012.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Kroman, David. "Times or Stranger: Whose endorsement drives votes?". Crosscut. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  14. ^ Zaragoza, Jason (July 14, 2017). "The Stranger to Publish Biweekly With Higher Page Count, Longer Features • Association of Alternative Newsmedia". Association of Alternative Newsmedia. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  15. ^ Black, Lester (February 4, 2020). "The Stranger Is Moving to the Chinatown-International District, Baby!". The Stranger. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  16. ^ Frizzelle, Christopher. March 13, 2020. "The Stranger Temporarily Lays Off 18 Employees." The Stranger.
  17. ^ Malcolm, Kim, and Andy Hurst. April 16, 2020. "'We sent out an SOS.' Seattle's Stranger in the fight of its life." KUOW.
  18. ^ Oxley, Dyer (March 21, 2023). "This Seattle magazine is printing again: Today So Far". KUOW. Retrieved September 17, 2023.
  19. ^ Frizzelle, Christopher. 2006 Stranger Genius Awards, The Stranger, October 19–25, 2006. p. 25. Related articles p. 25–44. Accessed October 19, 2006.
  20. ^ "The Stranger's Genius Awards". The Stranger. Retrieved October 13, 2012.