Features

Publisher’s Note: A Different Seattle Nice

Launching a new era of kindness and respect

By Jonathan Sposato September 27, 2022

Seattle Magazine owner and publisher, Jonathan Sposato

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2022 issue of Seattle magazine.

Hey! Who Killed Nice?

And for that matter, has anyone seen Civility, Kindness and Manners? I jest, of course, but I think you get my point. Giving in to our unending impulse to be right, or righteous, our society is in a constant quest to correct, criticize, reprimand and yes, cancel those who don’t agree with us. I am all for a rigorous debate about issues, but I can’t help wondering: Is truly civil and polite dialogue between people who don’t agree a lost art? Is it simply that binary? That either we “heart” or denounce others’ ideas?

While national divisiveness subverts our connectedness as Americans, social media have become an unintended “force multiplier,” rendering substantive dialogue a thing of the past. Identity politics override curiosity about deeper truths, while emotions escalate in the context-collapsed space of 280 characters. There are days when it appears we are simply shouting at each other all the time. 

Amidst the shouting, I respectfully posit this magazine. This is your break from the shouting. This is the place where we get curious about each other and the issues we all face, and we can hope, learn and grow forward. This is where we can be reminded of our better angels, calmly and contemplatively.  We have no 280-character limit, nor write in all caps. 

And speaking of better angels, this issue features precisely some of the best amongst us. These are the people and stories that inspire us. There are indeed solutions to homelessness. You can in fact balance police reform with public safety. You can learn about Seattle’s past while preparing for its future.

I hope you will also come to share with us at “Seattle” magazine our belief that we have much more in common as Americans in our shared and bright future ahead than differences.  And that bright future is simply ours for the taking, as long as we are willing to get curious about each other.  

The rewards can be especially high, if we dare to traverse the greater distance between our positions. As friend Monica Guzman writes in her new book, “I Never Thought of  It That Way,” “We need to overcome the fear and assumptions that surround us to finally do what only seems impossible: understand and even learn from people in your life whose whole worldview is not just different from yours, but opposed.”

And to underscore that very ethos of openness, curiosity and accommodation of opposing positions, we have completely reimagined the visual styling and format of “Seattle” magazine. Don Norman speaks of the power of “emotional design,” the concept that you can make a stronger and long-lasting connection with your audience if you support the powerful emotions you seek to invoke with well-chosen aesthetics as your framework.

Matt Berman and Jennifer Miller, former creative director and photo editor, respectively, of famed and storied “George” magazine, have teamed with “Seattle” magazine principals Robinick Fernandez and Rob Smith to put forth a refreshing, bright and elegant revisualization. I smile just looking at it. I believe it takes just as much effort to create your typical city magazine as it does to create an exciting and lush publication worthy of a world-class city on the national stage. We hope you enjoy your new gorgeous respite filled with curiosity, discovery and learning.

So thank you for choosing “Seattle” magazine from the newsstand. Let’s back Civility, Kindness and Manners, one page at a time. : )

Jonathan Sposato

Owner, publisher

Seattle magazine/Seattle Business magazine.

jonspo@seattlemag.com

About the Publisher’s Note Column

Publisher's Note is Seattle magazine owner Jonathan Sposato's highly subjective perspective on the issues that confront our community the most.  Jonathan's mission with the publication is to focus our attention on solutions, and to change the conversation in Seattle to an always hopeful, positive, and productive place.

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