B.A., The Evergreen State College, 1976
Knute "Skip" Berger is author of Pugetopolis: A Mossback Takes on Growth Addicts, Weather Wimps and the Myth of Seattle Nice. He writes the "Mossback" column for Crosscut.com, a Pacific Northwest online daily. He also pens a monthly back page column for Seattle Magazine, where he is Editor-at-Large. He is a regular news commentator on Seattle's public radio station, KUOW-FM. Between 1990 and 2006 Berger did three stints as editor of Seattle Weekly. He was founding editor of Eastsideweek and executive editor of Washington Magazine. His writing has won numerous awards. In 2010, he won first place awards for columns and business writing from the Northwest regional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2008, he won the Washington State Historic Preservation Officer's Annual Media Award for his coverage of historic preservation issues. He lives in Seattle.
Latest Publication Title
Pugetopolis: A Mossback Takes on Growth Addicts, Weather Wimps, and the Myth of Seattle Nice, Sasquatch Books, 2009
The commercial vision of Pugetopolis is of a place always in the act of becoming, constantly adapting to the market demands of more and more and more. The Puget Sound Regional Council's plan for the year 2040, "Vision 2040," was developed to address a single question: "How can the region accommodate another 1.7 million people and 1.2 million new jobs by 2040 while enhancing the environment and our overall quality of life?" Call this the “have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too” goal. It offers the false promise of suggesting that we can experience virtually unlimited growth without real costs; that we can enhance the quality of life without limiting growth and consumption. It shapes a new myth that pleases the Chamber of Commerce while courting environmentalists. It says that Puget Sound and its people are infinitely malleable. It also rests on the assumption that American-style prosperity, done thoughtfully, produces only winners.
How did Evergreen help you in your career?
At Evergreen, I studied American history and communications. I was editor of The Cooper Point Journal and had my first regular column on the editorial pages of its predecessor, The Paper. I had a nightly news show on KAOS and got a chance to do some TV. Evergreen gave me a chance to try new things. In helping to launch the school newspaper, I learned the editorial, production and business sides of publishing, which helped me shape a 30-year career as a magazine and newspaper editor as well as a writer and commentator. My first journalism internships were done through Evergreen. The college was a wonderful proving ground. I also had the chance to work with some great faculty members who encouraged my writing, studying and exploring: Dave Hitchens, Craig Carlson, and David Marr come to mind. Without Dave Hitchens' sponsorship, I never would have embarked on a cross-country journey that resulted in stories like an interview with Kurt Vonnegut for the CPJ.