RIP Seattle Post-Intelligencer (1863-2009)
Despite the years of circulation losses, the Joint Operating Agreement with the Seattle Times, the successive rounds of layoffs and all the hand-wringing an over-involved community could muster, it was a shock to the city to hear that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is about to be put to sleep. The Hearst Corporation, which owns it, announced yesterday that they were putting the paper up for sale for sixty days. Hearst does not expect to sell it, but is merely undertaking a formality which the JOA process requires before they can pull the plug. The last number published will probably be around April.
So now Seattle, in which more books are bought per capita than all but a handful of American cities, will have only one newspaper. Maybe none- the Times has been so badly managed over the past thirty years that its financial position is now tenuous. Any debate over the P-I's future in recent years would soon hear a counterpoint of speculation that the Times might fall first. Now having the JOA off its back and the P-I gone may not be enough to save the Times, which has lost 20% of its circulation in one of the fastest-growing areas in the country. Microsoft, Adobe, RealNetworks and the other high-tech empires in the Seattle area are teeming with young, affluent employees who get their news online.
Hearst, at the end, once more demonstrated the class that has made it what it is today. Instead of coming to Seattle and giving its longtime employees the news in person, Hearst management sent them an email.