Hearst to Potentially Shutter Seattle PI

picture-43Seattle still has two newspapers, which may not be true for much longer. Hearst Corp., which owns the Seattle Post Intelligencer, a paper founded in the mid-19th Century, is up for sale. If no buyer is found it may be closed. According to the PI’s own report:

The Seattle P-I’s parent company, The Hearst Corp., said Friday that it has put the paper up for sale and will stop publishing unless someone buys it in 60 days. If no buyer emerges, the paper would either become a Web-only publication or cease all operations.

Economic reasons have forced the state’s oldest morning newspaper into a sale, Steven Swartz, president of The Hearst Corp.’s newspaper division, told employees Friday.

“One thing is clear: At the end of the sale process, we do not see ourselves publishing in print,” Swartz told employees gathered in the newsroom overlooking Elliott Bay. “Since 2000, the P-I has lost money each year, and the losses have escalated and continue to escalate in 2009. We have had to make a very tough decision.”

Hearst said the P-I lost about $14 million in 2008.

If the P-I became an online-only operation, it would employ far fewer than the current 170 staffers, Swartz said.

There are several other papers in the same predicament (discussed in MediaPost).

But to become online only is to become just another website among many in my opinion. It’s really a grim situation.

Some would call it an “industry correction,” I would call it very disheartening.


6 Responses to “Hearst to Potentially Shutter Seattle PI”

  1. Rob Says:

    On a related note last night on NPR’s Fresh Air program Terry Gross interviewed John Yemma from the Christian Science Monitor and their decision to go web only during the week. Interesting listening. He had some very salient points on what a decision like that could mean especially for smaller town papers. Definitely worth a listen.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Thanks Rob. I will check out the podcast.

  3. Kevin Says:

    It’s a good thing when guys like Matt Marshall, or Mark Boslet, or John Cook, who started his new technology site TechFlash, get out before it’s too late. John started his new site just a few months ago, leaving the Seattle PI. Good insight on his part!

    As a former “old media” reporter, I can’t help but feel sorry for all the journalists who are stuck in limbo. I wish them the best of luck – UNITY reports that 10,092 journalism jobs have been lost since September 15, 2008. That’s a lot when you consider that there are not that many jobs out there to begin with.

  4. Greg Sterling Says:


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