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caption: Jazz Alley in downtown Seattle, November 2020 after months of pandemic shut downs and challenges facing businesses and arts organizations.
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Jazz Alley in downtown Seattle, November 2020 after months of pandemic shut downs and challenges facing businesses and arts organizations.
Credit: KUOW photo/Marcie Sillman

Today So Far: Seattle-area arts organizations take pandemic hit

  • Washington state just launched a new website for residents to order Covid tests.
  • Seattle-area arts organizations have taken a big hit over the past two years.
  • Five women are suing Seattle's "Raz" Simone over troubling allegations.

This post originally appeared in KUOW's Today So Far newsletter for Jan. 21, 2022.

Washington state just launched a new website for residents to order Covid tests. This is on top of the federal website that was announced earlier this week. Through Washington's website, residents can order a rapid antigen kit with 4-5 tests. They'll be delivered within two weeks. Despite the effort kicking off, and Washington's goal of distributing 3 million tests, the state only has 650,000 ready to ship out at the moment. More details here.

Our region loves to boast about our arts and culture scene. But that sector has taken a massive hit over the past two years. Federal funding and other support helped many Seattle-area arts organizations stay afloat after the pandemic first struck in 2020. Still, such organizations have laid off 41% of staff since then. And that survival funding is drying up. According to the nonprofit ArtsFund, funding for local Black, Indigenous and People of Color organizations dropped by 50% in 2021. Funding is expected to keep going down in 2022. But on the other side of these pandemic challenges is an evolution for some groups that have adapted to this modern era. Read more here.

There's a story by KUOW's Ashley Hiruko that is difficult to write about here. I recommend you give the full story a read to get all the details. It involves alleged sexual and domestic violence that has led to five women suing Seattle's "Raz" Simone. You may recognize him as a local hip hop artist. Or you may have heard the name during 2020's CHOP protest in Capitol Hill (he was among various leaders in CHOP, once spotted handing out an automatic weapon). Simone has denied the allegations presented by the five women. They say he targets young, vulnerable women and forces them into sex work to meet financial quotas. They said they had to turn over all their earnings to him. Seattle police were first made aware of the allegations in 2017. SPD's files on Simone were eventually turned over the FBI. But no charges have been filed as a result.

There's a lot going on in this story. So again, give it a full read here.

Have a comment or want to reach out to me? Send me an email at dyer@kuow.org.


AS SEEN ON KUOW

caption: A thick-horned nudibranch, aka a "sea slug" spotted by Karin Fletcher in Puget Sound. Fletcher engages in "dock fouling" which is when people head to docks and other shoreline structures to observe fascinating wildlife that many overlook.
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A thick-horned nudibranch, aka a "sea slug" spotted by Karin Fletcher in Puget Sound. Fletcher engages in "dock fouling" which is when people head to docks and other shoreline structures to observe fascinating wildlife that many overlook.

DID YOU KNOW?

This is going to seem quite elementary for our region's tech crowd, but for the rest of us: What does "UX" mean?

Stay tuned because this involves an important lesson I learned yesterday.

"UX" (sometimes UE) is one of those abbreviated terms that gets thrown around a lot in conversations among tech folks (along with "UCD" and "UI"). It means "user experience." When you're developing a product like a video game, a car's console, a website, or a newsletter, etc. it's very important to think about how the user will interact with it. Bad "user experience" can mean an unsuccessful product.

Consider yesterday's newsletter, which featured a story about Gov. Inslee's emergency declaration for the European green crab invasion of our local waters. When Today So Far gets sent out, even for test emails, it generally appears in an email folder like: "Dyer from KUOW. Subject: Today So Far: Emergency — Washington is being invaded." But TSF reader Maya didn't see this via her email. She saw it on her smartwatch, which presented this newsletter as simply "Emergency — Washington is being invaded."

I imagine that would come across as pretty shocking. And not too helpful for that particular newsletter, which first presented readers with a boxing metaphor for Covid, then a story about syphilis, and then explained the emergency order about the European green crab invasion.

Or as the tech sector would say: that's some pretty bad "user experience." I want to apologize to Maya and any other smartwatch readers out there. This is going to be a good UX lesson moving forward.

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