Newspaper Death Watch:The 146-year-old Seattle Post-Intelligencer will stop publishing after today and will become an online only publication with about 20 reporters and editors. [MSNBC]

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  1. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    *cries*

  2. Ninja007 says:

    that’s what happens when your newspaper is infused with a political agenda that alienates half your subscribers

    • redskull says:

      @Ninja007: More likely that’s what happens when your paper is bought up by a megacorp like Scripps, which bases every decision on what’s good for the shareholders rather than what’s good for the newspaper.

      Also over the past decade newspapers have relied more and more on ad revenue instead of subscriptions. Some paper get 80% of their revenue from ads, while they consistently cutting the price of subscriptions. Consequently when the ads go away as they are now, they’re left with nothing but subscriptions that cost a quarter of what they should.

      • Shivved says:

        @redskull: So your alternative is to raise subscription prices to the point where you would lose a significant number of readers?

        The only time I ever buy a paper is if there isn’t already a NY Post or Daily News sitting at the break room table, and both of those are 50 cents each. If they cost $2, there would never be any copies in the break room and I certainly wouldn’t buy one.

        The fact is that with the amount of alternative news sources out there, big city papers just aren’t as appealing as they once were. I can get all of the NYC news on TV and get national news online. There is really no need to buy the paper every morning except for tradition and SuDoku.

    • privateer says:

      @Ninja007: Because the crappy economy and loss of advertising and classified revenues had nothing to do with it, of course.

    • cromartie says:

      @Ninja007: Wow. Only two posts for the ignorant wing nut to make an appearance. A new record.

  3. audiochick says:

    It’s very sad. I preferred it over the Seattle Times.

  4. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Ninja007: A great deal of us pride ourselves on being fair, on leaving opinion and commentary firmly within opinion and commentary sections… and the economy is devastating to my industry, it really is.

  5. Ninja007 says:

    and its pretty clear that the P-I didn’t do that. Sorry that your industry is going down the drain, but hey that’s life

  6. Bahnburner says:

    The PI was sucking wind long before the economy tanked. fail. I am sad, however, anytime the free press is diminished.

  7. sean98125 says:

    It’ll be interesting to see whether or not Hearst’s experiment in online journalism will work. I haven’t bought a P-I in ages, but I go to the website at least once a day. The other daily in Seattle is in trouble, too, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they were out of business in a couple of years.

  8. Yossarian says:

    redskull: Maybe they cut the cost of subscriptions because that’s what they have to do to sell them and “a quarter of what they should [cost]” doesn’t reflect what people are willing to pay.

    I buy the Sunday paper for coupons and am seriously considering just buying the coupons directly.

    Leaving opinion and commentary in the opinion and commentary sections is all well and good when it is actually done, but even that doesn’t address the skewing of the presentation by what is covered, or not covered, in the first place.

    • redskull says:

      @Yossarian: Which proves my point exactly. By constantly slashing prices (“Get 12 months for the price of 3!”) in an effort to drum up business, they’ve devalued their product. Now the public thinks the newspaper isn’t worth more than 50 cents, because that’s what the paper has taught them. If they’d left the price alone and even increased it with inflation then people would just think, “OK, that’s just how much a newspaper costs.”

      They’d definitely lose a few customers, but they wouldn’t be left with nothing when the ad revenue shrinks, the way things are now.

  9. Serenefengshui says:

    I subscribe to the Seattle Times for the comics, but prefer the politics of the PI. Glad it’ll stay alive online at least, but man, this is not good.

    Newspapers Live!

  10. Bladefist says:

    I’ve commented on this before, and I’ll do so again. Sure, the internet and reduced advertising revenue is not helping the newspaper business.

    I still attribute to it being the following:
    1) Newspapers political agenda (Very bias)
    2) Being untrustworthy due to said bias
    3) Cheerleading for the government instead notifying the people.

    And for this, I’m glad they are having problems, and I hope more unbiased medias take their place.

    Shows like O’Reilly, Hannity, Olbermann, and Larry King are shows we know to be biased.

    Newspapers can be like those shows if they want, just be outward about it.

    • Ninja007 says:

      @Bladefist: yep and the Seattle PI was one of the worst offenders in their bias. This pleased some of their demographic, but its no surprise that people with differing political viewpoints took their money elsewhere.

  11. PLATTWORX says:

    The newspaper industry is NOT going down the drain. There were two daily papers in Seattle and very few cities ANYWHERE can support to daily papers. Most cities went to one decades ago. This is not new!

    The problem newspapers are having has many levels:

    1. People expect local news about their city or town, schools, government to be reported and expect the local newspaper to do it.

    2. People think they can stop subscribing to their local newspaper to save money and that they can do a search of Google or go to the newspaper web site and get the local news they need for FREE instead.

    3. These same people refuse to pay for access to the newspaper web site and fail to understand that it is the PRINT editions paid subscribers and advertisers who are paying the salaries of the reporters who wrote the stores they got for free online. So, newspaper have to keep giving away the news on their web site because when they try and charge for it, people throw a fit and refuse.

    4. Advertisers (nationally and locally) are not flocking to the web and refuse to pay anywhere near what they paid for a print ad online, so the web site of the paper can’t generate enough money to pay for the reporters, the print edition has to.

    JUST WAIT for a few daily newspapers to shut down because people stopped subscribing in too high a number for the publication to survive. The public will suddenly come up with NOTHING when they try and get their free local news online and THROW A FIT! Who will let them know what crimes are happening in their town? What the city budget is? If the mayor is stealing?

    People think the newspaper is a service they can enjoy without having to pay for it. WRONG.

    • shepd says:

      @PLATTWORX:

      Re: Point 3.

      My local newspaper still doesn’t get it. I stopped being interested in it because their local section is pathetic, and everything else is an AP/Reuters reprint.

      So, yes, the scraps of news I wanted I’d try to get for free. At one point I considered paying for it.

      Their only options?

      - Get the newspaper delivered and get access to the website.
      – Have the newspaper automatically donated to a school and get access to the website at the same price as the above.

      Uhhhh… What? Yeah, they clearly don’t get it, so I just don’t subscribe. Oddly enough, they decided to “get with it” by opening up access to their site for free a year or two ago (I stopped visiting their site for so long I don’t know when they made the change)! Which is nice, but still totally missing the point.

      The TV news has more coverage on local events anyways, so I’ve completely given up on the newspaper. They happen to have a domain that a lot of other newspapers are probably salivating over, so I expect when they go bust their URL will be the most valuable part of the business. :D

      It’ll be good riddance, as they’re the only local paper, which means the city will need to buy ads during the local TV news to advertise bylaw changes (this is a good thing, since the local news is free to view and therefore the right kind of way to advertise these things).

    • orlo says:

      @PLATTWORX: Local newspapers even when they offer news are usually extremely biased. But the trend over the past few decades has been to reprint AP stories and just cover easy local ones like arrests. Electronic distribution should be a tremendous opportunity for newspapers, but as they are now they will not be missed.

  12. rbb says:

    “PI” means something other than “Post Intelligencer.” It also stood for “Pravda Incognito.”

  13. hairyseaword says:

    Sad. The P-I was legendary. I’m sure that paper’s best and brightest will be able to make the online version work… if Hearst doesn’t castrate their efforts again.

  14. HogwartsAlum says:

    No matter how much of the news I get online, I still really like to sit down on Sunday morning with the paper and my giant mug of coffee. There’s something about turning the pages that is very satisfying.

  15. wadewood says:

    Yeaaah! Die baby die!

    I lived in Seattle for 9 years and this paper was a liberal piece of crap. The Seattle Times was not much better. I subscribed to one or the other for first 7 years in Seattle. I have read a morning newspaper and drink a cup of coffee since I was 8. But after 7 years in Seattle, I gave this up and went to online news sources only.

  16. TEW says:

    My local paper is pissing me off. Half of the local/state section is obituaries and another quarter is ads. I am lucky to get 5 or 6 decent stories for the major city and state. I also can’t find anything on our local sports (high school/colleges) but we get all of the national AP stories. The national and international stories are AP and Rutgers Puff pieces and I can find all of it online. The paper does not stand for our city; it stands for the reprints of the AP wire reports. We had a mayor that did not pay his taxes and a governor that took illegal campaign contributions but the stories were buried under the rug. Electronic reports will be the final nail for a lot of these papers because they stand for nothing.

  17. Hongfiately says:

    Buggy whip.

  18. Meathamper says:

    Well, at least it’s not like Rocky Mountain News, and they still exist.