On October 25th, I asked Seattle Times Company spokesperson Jill Mackie for details on how many people had cancelled their subscriptions to the Seattle Times as a result of its political ad campaign. (As well as how many people had threatened to cancel, and how many people had opted for the "protest cancellations" I'd heard were being offered.)
No response. The company also declined to speak with NPR's On The Media when it called last week.
However, now that the election's over The Seattle Times Company is being a little more forthcoming about the impact of its decision to bankroll ads for Rob McKenna and R-74.
I e-mailed Jill Mackie, VP of public affairs for The Seattle Times to ask her if the paper plans to continue these kinds of ad buys, and whether The Seattle Times had seen many people take up the offer of "protest holds."
"This was a pilot program and there are no plans for repeating it in the future," says Mackie about the ad program. "A significant number of subscribers who contacted us with concerns about the pilot program opted for the protest stop to make their feelings clear but continue to receive The Seattle Times once the election was over. With the election just ended it is too soon to determine if there were any long term impacts on our subscriber base."
Sounds like a failed pilot to me—especially when you consider that McKenna lost and R-74 would have easily won without those Times ads.