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Friday, January 9, 2009

Seattle P-I Officially Up For Sale; State's Oldest Newspaper May Go Online Only

Posted by on Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 12:25 PM

1327018943_9bb4720a66.jpgThe King 5 report was correct.

The Seattle P-I newspaper is being put up for sale. Steve Swartz, president of Hearst Newspaper Division, told the newsroom that Hearst Corp. is starting a 60-day process to find a buyer. If a buyer is not found, Swartz said, Hearst will pursue other options. The options include moving to a digital-only operation with a greatly reduced staff, or completely shutting down operations. In no case will Hearst continue to publish the P-I in printed form, Swartz said.

And, in no case will Hearst try to buy The Seattle Times:

Swartz said the company is not interested in attempting to purchase The Seattle Times.

The whole scenario seems a huge gift to Frank Blethen, whose flagship media property is now likely to lose its only direct print competitor, and whose reporters at The Seattle Times now no longer have to worry about being bought by their (former) rival, Hearst.

Also, in regard to the possibility that the P-I may go online only in the very likely event that Hearst can't find a buyer: I recommended pretty much exactly that course of action in March of 2006 in The Stranger.

Also II, to answer the comment questions about where Sam Machkovech's post about the Belo speculation went... I'd heard the same Belo rumor late last night, and checked it out this morning. The rumor that the sale of the P-I is linked to a Hearst Corporation plan to purchase the Belo Corporation is not true, according to Belo spokesman Paul Fry, who told me this morning that he'd already fielded several other calls on the subject. (According to the Belo rumor I'd heard, Hearst wanted Belo for its TV properties, which include King 5—which would explain how King 5 got the P-I sale scoop. In order for such a deal to go through, Hearst would have to get rid of the P-I because of federal cross-ownership rules that prohibit a company from owning a television station and a newspaper in the same market. But, again, according to the Belo Corportation: the rumor is not true.)

 

Comments (37) RSS

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1
I guess that's it for the newspapers. I've been reading a daily everyday since the third grade. Now I am paying double the price for my Seattle times subscription and getting 1/3 the content. How much longer until they're gone altogether?
Posted by Rotten666 on January 9, 2009 at 12:31 PM · Report this
2
Dibs on the giant globe!!
Posted by Billy on January 9, 2009 at 12:32 PM · Report this
3
This sucks.

Am I really going to have to switch to the fucking Times if I want local news in print? Ugh.
Posted by Fnarf on January 9, 2009 at 12:34 PM · Report this
4
One newspaper, town.
Posted by Dan Savage on January 9, 2009 at 12:35 PM · Report this
5
No way am I buying the print edition of the Times.

That ship has sailed.
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 9, 2009 at 12:36 PM · Report this
6
Hey now. I admit I'm biased as I work for the Times (and the P-I, really, as I'm in advertising) but for gods sake, I should think that all of us here recognize the importance of keeping a local newspaper and its journalists in business. Even if its editorial board is (in my opinion) too conservative.
Posted by crassive on January 9, 2009 at 12:36 PM · Report this
7
The conflict of interest post is broken.

Interesting to find out that it's because they now own KING5 (hence the story) and that it's because President Obama will actually enforce rules about market competition ....

Oh well, guess I'll have to rely on The Stranger for my daily news ...
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 9, 2009 at 12:38 PM · Report this
8
I wish I could buy the P-I, put it up for sale again, get no buyers, simultaneously shut it down and buy the Times, moosh both papers' staff together and rename it the Seattle Sun, put Connelly and Jamieson out to pasture immediately, steal Charles and Jen from the Stranger, grow a handlebar moustache, retire to Mercer Island and try not to shoot any dogs at all.
Posted by tomasyalba on January 9, 2009 at 12:40 PM · Report this
9
Damn, I so wanted to never hear from the Blethens again.
Posted by Mike in Renton on January 9, 2009 at 12:42 PM · Report this
10
What happened to the Belo purchase speculation post?
Posted by Revisionist Historian on January 9, 2009 at 12:43 PM · Report this
11
You are such a fucking asshole, Will.
Posted by Fnarf on January 9, 2009 at 12:45 PM · Report this
12
Umm, where did the other post go?
Posted by Bethundra on January 9, 2009 at 12:48 PM · Report this
13
The only thing I care about is what is going to happen to David Horsey. He's the best part of the PI.
Posted by D. on January 9, 2009 at 12:49 PM · Report this
14
"Print is dead" - Dr. Egon Spengler
Posted by Gozer on January 9, 2009 at 12:51 PM · Report this
15
Here at least is the blog post the disappearing Slog post linked to:
http://frontburner.dmagazine.com/2009/01…
Posted by tomasyalba on January 9, 2009 at 12:51 PM · Report this
16
They are kicking themselves at Hearst HQ -- "why didn't we listen to Eli Sanders years ago?," they are saying.

LOL you crack me up
Posted by hq on January 9, 2009 at 12:58 PM · Report this
17
How is Hearst not wanting to buy the Times a gift to Frank Blethen? You lost me. It's not like he'd be forced to sell against his will.
Posted by don't be so obvious on January 9, 2009 at 12:58 PM · Report this
18
I, for one, welcome the death of the mainstream print media:

http://www.counterpunch.com/roberts01082…

The print media has been complicit in all of the lies that sprouted from the Bush administration (and previous administrations). Am I alone in desiring an America that A.) is well informed and B.) is perhaps forced to seek out a number of sources?
Posted by DavidFaber on January 9, 2009 at 1:05 PM · Report this
19
@17, I wouldn't be so sure. He very well might be forced to sell by the banks that hold the loans.
Look, even if Hearst were interested in buying the Times, that's exactly what I'd expect Swartz to say at this point. As to the rest, we still don't know enough to say whether it's good for Frank Blethen or the Times or not. Seattle could yet wind up a 0-newspaper town. Certainly no one over here is smiling.
Posted by Not obvious at all on January 9, 2009 at 1:06 PM · Report this
20
For daily local news junkies who can't stand Blethen's fish wrapper there is (at least for now) McClatchy owned Tacoma News Tribune.
Posted by Chris Stefan on January 9, 2009 at 1:07 PM · Report this
21
I hate the P-I and wish they would go bankrupt.

Reasons:

1. They blocked my account because I used the word "dumass" and that counted as a violation of user policty.

2. One of the business editors roped me into a phoney job offer and then hit me over the head with a "no" after luring me in.

Screw you PI -- you got what's coming to you, you lying SOBs.
Posted by Excuse Pee I on January 9, 2009 at 1:09 PM · Report this
22
How much does a newspaper cost? Seriously?
Posted by jr on January 9, 2009 at 1:09 PM · Report this
23
#19. Regardless of whether it turns out to be good or bad for The Times, it's not a "gift" to Frank that Hearst doesn't want to buy it. That's my only point.
Posted by still obvious, that part anyway on January 9, 2009 at 1:11 PM · Report this
24
@22, How much you got? I've been for sale for months, with no takers.
Posted by Miami Herald on January 9, 2009 at 1:11 PM · Report this
25
Who've have thought that the Stranger's "Seattle's Only Paper" motto would turn out to be prescient?
Posted by dw on January 9, 2009 at 1:27 PM · Report this
26
Other than sadness that someone I know could likely lose their job, I don't give a damn about the PI, but someone better make sure that the Globe doesn't leave town...

I'd advise the Stranger to buy it, but considering the rickety ass condition their building is in, the globe would crush Stranger HQ...
Posted by michael strangeways on January 9, 2009 at 1:33 PM · Report this
27
Dammit, at least reading the PI was bearable. And I *heart* D. Parvaz and David Horsey.


I don't have anything against the staff and reporters at the Seattle Times per se, but I'll never buy that paper in a million years because of the airhead, WSJ wannabe, right-wing assholes that write the op-eds and election endorsements.

They can suck me.
Posted by Original Andrew on January 9, 2009 at 1:55 PM · Report this
28
Hmm, if the dailies go under that could make The Stranger Seattle's only print publication, and probably most important media source (shut up Seattle Weekly).

Do I hear Dan Savage and Tim Keck rubbing their hands together in malevolent glee? I wonder what this means for the future of our fair city.

Posted by matt; on January 9, 2009 at 2:08 PM · Report this
29
@28 It means that escorts will have the prestigious opportunity to advertise in Seattle's only print publication. Also, the future will be at least 50% gayer.
Posted by Hernandez on January 9, 2009 at 2:41 PM · Report this
30
@25 for the sad sad win.
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 9, 2009 at 2:47 PM · Report this
31
Where are all you dillwads going to get your news? From your precious blogs? From your navel? Print or online makes no difference -- if you don't have a newsroom full of dedicated reporters, then you get shit. Who do you think is going to investigate the corruption in the King County Police Department? Remember that? Should we just "get Jesse" over at King 5. Not. In the real world, outside our Puget oasis, reporters get killed and stuff. Do you really think some blogger sitting around in his jammies is going to get the real dirt on gang violence? Or corruption in the mental health system? You need a team of hard workers with lots of support. The Stranger is great, but journalistically, it reads like the staffers' shoe leather takes them as far as Cafe Presse and back.

Daily papers usually make it to your door during earthquakes and storms and power outages. They usually have high standards (commerce secretary, anyone?). And they let you happen upon stories you might not otherwise see. (Is there a term for blogosphere blinders? Screeching to the choir?) Just because papers are old media doesn't mean we shouldn't all have a stake in bringing them into the "new" world. All this hipster arrogance about how the papers "asked for it" doesn't really help democracy keep rolling. You all owe a lot to the news crews of the world who crank out the copy you link to and bitch about.

Why don't we all pull together our trust funds, buy some of this cheap office space, stick the P-I globe on top and call it the People's Independent. Then everyone can take turns working there, covering the glitz and the tedium and putting out an awesome daily (or hourly, if you prefer). Then, when you take the bus to a new spa in Tacoma, or an art opening in Georgetown, you can do a little news gathering along the way. But you'll have to answer to an editor and to readers who know your name.

(That said, I think the Stranger should make like big media and buy a helicopter. Call it "Sky Queen.")
More...
Posted by ROAG on January 9, 2009 at 2:48 PM · Report this
32
Right on ROAG!
Posted by Olga on January 9, 2009 at 3:01 PM · Report this
33
Tim Keck and Dan Savage should buy the PI. Sure it probably wouldn't look anything like the old one, but they'd at least get the name and globe out of the deal.
Posted by Chris Stefan on January 9, 2009 at 3:36 PM · Report this
34
Eli, you pulled Sam's post because it turned out not to be true??? Are all your Gregoire posts gone as well?

With that policy half of Slog would disappear overnight.
Posted by rjh on January 9, 2009 at 4:14 PM · Report this
35
What's the asking price?
Posted by Ed on January 9, 2009 at 5:09 PM · Report this
36
@11 - thanks, Fnarf.

At least I don't shoot dogs from my helicopter.
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 9, 2009 at 5:39 PM · Report this
37
When I was a kid I read the Olympian (my local paper). the Times and the P-I. In college I dropped the Olympian in favor of the Cooper Point Journal (my college paper), but still read The Times, and the P-I. When I moved to Seattle, it was till the Times and P-I and a tossup between the Weekly or The Stranger won.

I often wonder how much news print that ould look like.

Since a bought my first PC in 1990 I've got 80% internet and 20% TV. Now I get almost all my news, online) off the internet and besides all the papers above, I read i many more (ie. Times Of London).

The only thing I'll miss is about the P-I is its lighted globe, which I think should be the sculpture park, MOHAI or on top of the a very tall building.

I commend the Stranger and wish it would hire more reporters and have fresh news everyday.
Posted by elswinger on January 9, 2009 at 6:14 PM · Report this

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