Hey, My P-I Has Really Shrunk Today!

The saga of the P-I's death was in all the papers. But some readers still managed to miss it, says former P-I reporter Joe Tartakoff. "When the width of the newspaper shrunk," Tartakoff writes from his new job at the media-reporting site, PaidContent.Org, where he's currently writing about Microsoft, Google and the Washington Post, "callers complained to the business editor that the listings had been cut. She ignored the obvious retort: Chances are there won't be a paper at all in less than two months!" Tartakoff, 23, who'd been at the P-I only four months then, watched his world slowly dissolve to black, he says, reflecting on the print edition's final 60 days and the re-launch of a downsized (and now money-losing?) eP-I. "Hearst wanted to make sure that the website was all set to go the day after it shut down the paper. But on the 63rd day, the web editor was still making 'provisional' job offers to fill spots that had been turned down.

"At 10 a.m. on March 16, the 66th day, as most staffers were just arriving in the newsroom, an all-hands meeting was called. The next day would be the last of the print Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the publisher declared...The announcement was spun as the first paper to make the transition to an all-digital daily. Nevermind that the site left behind would be a skeleton of its former self. The new editor in charge would not respond to questions when I asked her for a story about the transition intended to run in the final print-edition. Instead, she posted her own, unfiltered thoughts online. Those staying behind started to fret about their new, all-encompassing beats. (Want to write about Boeing and Microsoft and Amazon, companies that previously each were covered by separate reporters? Anyone? Anyone?) Those of us who were not part of the new website celebrated with whiskey and beer. I packed a box."

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