Reel Truths

An apology from the publisher

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Cascadia Weekly has published feature film reviews without permission of their authors. The responsibility for this rests with me, the publisher, and I apologize and am available to those authors for cure.

All feature reviews were bylined and sourced, and our intent was never to deprive or defraud these authors of credit for their work. Cascadia Weekly received no revenue or remit from these reviews, which were offered as service to readers. These were licensed products for which we did not hold a license. Cascadia Weekly publishes a number of syndicated features, and—were such services readily available for the indie film industry—we would leap at the opportunity to secure available syndication for feature film reviews. If licensing services are available for the small independent press, we do not know of them.

Our sin was promotion; and in particular promotion of the many fine, small-distribution independent films of limited circulation that arrive each month at our arthouse theaters, and that deserve attention in our community.

Perhaps no single area of arts-&-entertainment publishing has witnessed more change over the past several years than that of new film releases. Their distribution has increasingly consolidated and has tended to focus on major releases. Screening opportunities have narrowed, and particularly so in small communities like Bellingham. Our advance deadline of Tuesday additionally constricts our capacity to secure permissions for feature reviews for limited distribution films. Even our ability to present screen times is constricted, as that information is now seldom released by the major theater chain until after our press deadline.

None of this excuses our actions, but is submitted to explain our motives.

The simple truth is, rather than surrender to the evident realities of distribution and provide little information at all on these excellent films, we chose to publish feature reviews without securing permission from their authors. We were wrong to do so.

Over time, we grew indiscriminate in sources and careless in purpose. On several occasions, we published feature reviews for a major motion picture release without license or permission, which violated any original purpose—however misguided—to point reader attention to smaller release films. Wrong became routine. Of all our failures, this last point is our most egregious.

To authors and their representatives who request or demand remedy, we will of course respond promptly and appropriately to each request.

Regarding content that has been removed from our archives: This is not a cover-up. This is part of the requested remedy.

For the present, and until licensing issues are resolved, we will no longer publish feature film reviews. This is as much an acknowledgement of the realities described above as it is our reduced page counts at a very challenging moment for the newspaper publishing industry. Film shorts, which are original to Cascadia Weekly and provided by staff, will continue to appear in our publication.

Again, my apologies to all we have failed.

—Tim Johnson, Publisher

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