Seattle Post-Intelligencer Goes Web-Only

Seattle Post-Intelligencer editors Chris Beringer and John Dickson react to the announcement.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer editors Chris Beringer and John Dickson react to the announcement. (By Dan Delong -- Associated Press)
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By Phuong Le
Associated Press
Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which has chronicled the news of the city since logs slid down its steep streets to the harbor and miners caroused in its bars before heading north to Alaska's gold fields, will print its final edition today.

Hearst, which owns the 146-year-old P-I, said yesterday that it failed to find a buyer for the newspaper, which it put up for a 60-day sale in January after years of losing money. Now the P-I will shift entirely to the Web.

"Tonight will be the final run, so let's do it right," publisher Roger Oglesby told the newsroom.

Hearst's decision to abandon the print product in favor of an Internet-only version is the first for a large American newspaper, raising questions about whether the company can make money in a medium where others have come up short.

David Lonay, 80, a subscriber since 1950, said he'll miss a morning ritual that can't be replaced by a Web-only version.

"The first thing I do every day is get the P-I and read it," Lonay said. "I really feel like an old friend is dying."

Hearst's move to end the print edition leaves the P-I's larger rival, The Seattle Times, as the only mainstream daily in the city. The Times plans to deliver a copy of the newspaper to every P-I subscriber tomorrow morning, spokeswoman Jill Mackie said.

"It's a really sad day for Seattle," said P-I reporter Angela Galloway. "The P-I has its strengths and weaknesses but it always strove for a noble cause, which was to give voice to those without power and scrutiny of those with power."

Seattle follows Denver in losing a daily newspaper this year. The Rocky Mountain News closed after its owner, E.W. Scripps, couldn't find a buyer. In Arizona, Gannett's Tucson Citizen is set to close Saturday, leaving one newspaper in that city.

And last month, Hearst said it would close or sell the San Francisco Chronicle if the newspaper couldn't slash expenses in coming weeks.

The newspaper industry has seen ad revenue fall in recent years as advertisers migrate to the Internet, particularly to sites offering free or low-cost alternatives for classified ads. Starting last summer, the recession intensified the decline in advertising revenue in all categories.


© 2009 The Washington Post Company

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