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The paper will wrap up 146 years of print publication today, and publish its last edition tomorrow, something Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen - also

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P-I: Last Edition Tomorrow

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The paper will wrap up 146 years of print publication today, and publish its last edition tomorrow, something Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen - also losing money - says he and his company "find no joy in..." Report the P-I's Dan Richman and Andrea James:

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer will roll off the presses for the last time Tuesday, ending a 146-year run.

The Hearst Corp. announced Monday that it would stop publishing the newspaper, Seattle's oldest business, and cease delivery to more than 117,600 weekday readers.

The company, however, said it will maintain seattlepi.com, making it the nation's largest daily newspaper to shift to an entirely digital news product.

"Tonight we'll be putting the paper to bed for the last time," Editor and Publisher Roger Oglesby told a silent newsroom Monday morning. "But the bloodline will live on."

On Jan. 9, New York-based Hearst put the Seattle P-I up for sale and said that the paper would stop printing if a buyer were not found within 60 days.

Despite community concern, no buyer emerged. The P-I lost $14 million last year.

The P-I closure leaves Seattle with one daily newspaper -- rival and business partner The Seattle Times.

Demand for news has not fallen but the revenue model has changed faster than American newspapers can keep up. Thus, falling advertising revenue and the migration of readers to online has rocked newspapers large and small. The Rocky Mountain News in Denver closed in February. The Seattle P-I is the second newspaper to shut down in 2009.

Other major newspaper companies are reducing staff, eliminating bureaus and freezing pay in an attempt to get expenses in line with falling revenue.

Says Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen, in a statement:

"The Hearst Corporation's announcement that it is closing the Seattle P-I is unfortunate, but understandable, given the significant losses that both newspapers have experienced as a result of the Joint Operating Agreement. Though The Seattle Times and the Seattle P-I have been fiercely competitive, we find no joy in the loss of any journalistic voice. Today's announcement is an acknowledgement that in the current economy it is a struggle for even a single newspaper to be profitable and impossible for multiple papers in a single market.

"An end to the JOA gives The Seattle Times the best opportunity to be viable long term, but, short term, weathering this recession will still be a significant challenge. Even without the JOA, The Seattle Times must continue to achieve additional efficiencies and cost savings in order to weather this very difficult time and emerge with a sustainable business model for the future.

"We know that there is - and will continue to be - a strong demand for the journalism and community service that newspapers provide. As the largest daily newspaper in Washington state and the Web site with the largest local audience, we remain hopeful that The Seattle Times will be able to serve the community with journalism of distinction for many generations to come whether in print, online, or in new platforms not yet imagined."

 
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