The P-I Deathwatch Countdown

Aside from the superficial guesswork, rumor and blognostication, what really happened today at the P-I? "Despite The Hearst Corp.'s statement Tuesday morning that it hasn't decided whether to sell or shut down the Seattle P-I, clues emerged later in the day suggesting that Hearst plans to close the 146-year-old paper shortly and will continue operating a Web site," reports Dan Richman, the one reporter who should know, being he's working the story from inside the P-I newsroom.

Staffers learned Tuesday afternoon that boxes and bins are scheduled to be delivered to the newsroom later this week -- some for materials to be taken home, others for notes that require shredding. Employees were told to file promptly to be reimbursed for their expenses. And they were told they can retain their cell phone numbers if they wish.

The paper thus could close any day, perhaps Friday, but the eP-I appears a go. "Hearst in January said it would put the paper up for sale for 60 days," writes Richman, "closing it if no buyer emerged but possibly maintaining the P-I Web site. On Tuesday, another clue emerged as to Hearst's intentions: The company renewed the domain name '' through March 25, 2010, with registrar Network Solutions. It would have expired later this month."

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