The news-“paper” Seattle Post-Intelligencer is no more. After Tuesday, the venerable American publication will exist online only, as a ghost of its former self….

The last edition of the news-“paper” Seattle Post-Intelligencer will be published Tuesday, the paper reported on its web site.
Hearst Corp. announced that it would stop publishing the 146-year old
newspaper, Seattle’s oldest business, and cease delivery to more than
117,600 weekday readers. Hearst said it would maintain seattlepi.com —
making it the United States’s largest daily newspaper to shift to an
entirely digital news product. Hearst put a positive spin on its news release: “SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER TO BECOME LARGEST DAILY NEWSPAPER TO SWITCH TO AN ALL-DIGITAL MODEL”

The move leaves Seattle with just one mainstream news”paper” — for now.

The New York Times report compared
the new online P-I to “a local Huffington Post more than a traditional
newspaper, with a news staff of about 20 people rather than the 165 it
has had, and a site consisting mostly of commentary, advice and links
to other news sites, along with some original reporting.”

Excerpts of the P-I’s story:

“Tonight
we’ll be putting the paper to bed for the last time,” Editor and
Publisher Roger Oglesby told a silent newsroom Monday morning. “But the
bloodline will live on …
The
new operation will be more than a newspaper online, Steven Swartz,
president of Hearst Newspapers, said. The so-called “community
platform” will feature breaking news, columns from prominent Seattle
residents, community databases, photo galleries, 150 citizen bloggers
and links to other journalistic outlets.


On
Jan. 9, New York-based Hearst put the Seattle P-I up for sale and said
that the paper would stop printing if a buyer were not found within 60
days.
Despite community concern, no buyer emerged. The P-I lost $14 million last year. “The
thing that should not be missed here is that the P-I is not going away.
The P-I is going online,” Oglesby said in an interview. “Nobody is
happy about the newspaper going away. That’s a sad thing. The editorial
voice is still going to be here.”


Far more than the dead-tree version of the P-I will be lost. Bloomberg noted that
Hearst will cut about 145 newsroom jobs at the Post- Intelligencer,
leaving it with 20 reporters and editors. Putting the drastic move in
context, Bloomberg referred to the State of the Media report by the Pew
Project for Excellence in Journalism. (Previous J-Source post here).
Bloomberg noted that  “U.S. newspapers eliminated 5,000 newsroom jobs
in 2008 as industry advertising revenue fell 16 percent, and 2009 “may
be the worst year yet.”

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