Tag Archives: Seattle PI

Is it Curtains for the Seattle PI?

On Friday the New York Times reported that The Hearst Corporation was making offers to some PI reporters for a web only newspaper. As reported in the article:

“Hearst said in January that if it could not sell The Seattle Post-Intelligencer by this Tuesday, it would stop printing the paper and either shut it down or become a much smaller online publisher. No buyer has emerged, and an announcement is expected next week.
The Post-Intelligencer with a weekday circulation of more than 100,000, would be the first large American newspaper to stop printing but continue publishing on the Internet. A few smaller papers have already made that move.
This week, Hearst executives made offers to some people in The Post-Intelligencer newsroom, asking them to stay if the company decided to proceed with an Internet-based news service. ….”

The news was first reported by PI reporter Dan Richman in an article entitled “Some PI workers get online offer” Richman notes that some 20 people would be employed in the web based paper. This would leave a lot of others unemployed.

But some of the potential reporters with lots of free time are already proposing an alternative to being unemployed. Daily Kos has an article about an alternative cooperative proposal run by the reporters.

MSN news says that

A group of Seattle Post-Intelligencer employees is seeking to raise $250,000 to start up an online local news site if Hearst Corp. decides to shut down the daily newspaper and not pursue an online-only site of its own.
The employees are setting up a nonprofit entity called the Seattle Post Globe. About 20 P-I staffers say they are prepared to work without pay until they can raise funds.”

Termed ” A Plan to keep journalism alive in Seattle: the Packer Model“; you can catch the details of their proposal at a website called Seattle Post – Post Intelligencer . Check it out.
The football team, the Green Bay Packers, is owned by the fans. The website of the reporters looking at starting the alternative newspaper on the web if the PI goes under and Hearst doesn’t do an online edition of the PI, says:

The idea here is that We are exploring the creation of a cooperative , which would be operated by combination of the site’s employees and the community.”

Unless someone is lurking in the shadows with a bundle of money and community goodwill, things look to be drawing to a close for the Seattle PI as readers have known it for years as an independent spirited newspaper that has done much in its work to make Seattle a better community to live in. The current economy makes it’s chances of surviving even less likely.

Seattle PI Faces Chopping Block

The financial crisis facing many communities across America strikes home again. The Hearst Corporation today confirmed yesterday’s rumor that the Seattle Post Intelligencer is on its way to a quick grave. Basically by saying they will give 60 days time for someone to step forward and buy it means they are giving, in this economy, 60 days notice that the end is coming.

You can watch Steve Schwartz, the President of Hearst’s Corporation Newspaper Division break the news at noon to the PI’s newsroom. here as well as read the PI’s news article and Schwartz’s press release.

In a rather backhanded slap at the PI, despite Schwartz’s lavish praise for the paper and its reporters and its history, Schwartz refused to answer any questions after his statement.

Schwartz said that 60 days signaled the end of the print edition but left the door open for the continuation of an on-line edition with a drastically reduced staff. But even that is in doubt because if that economic model worked you would argue why isn’t it working now.

The loss to the community will be great if no buyer emerges. Two newspapers have been a luxury for Seattle but the clock started ticking for one to disappear when a few years back the Seattle Times shifted to a morning edition like the Seattle PI, putting them in direct competition with each other.

The Seattle PI has generally been viewed as the more progressive or liberal of the two papers and its loss would mean a more conservative newspaper would be the only print edition.

The Weekly Stranger has become more standard fare for raising issues with an alternative viewpoint. When the Seattle Weekly was sold and its activist staff let go, it quickly degenerated to a non entity is covering news and raising questions and doing any kind of real investigative reporting.

The Seattle PI over the years has had good investigative reporting and editorial writers who looked at issues with a critical eye. David Horsey and his political cartoons have been a Seattle staple for as long as I can remember. I first met Horsey when he was at the UW when I was a graduate student.

Joel Connelly, Neil Modie (recently retired) and Eric Nalder among others have been PI fixtures on Seattle’s waterfront for years. A landslide change will cover Seattle’s political landscape if the end is truly here. Maybe we can ask Obama to include newspapers like the PI in his economic stimulus package, as worthy as any road or bridge that we could build in terms of community impact.