Hearst has given up trying to fix the cash-bleeding Seattle Post-Intelligencer. It has put it up for sale, and if it can’t find a buyer, it will fire most of the staff and nix the print edition–or just shut the whole thing down.
The speed with which the 200-year old newspaper industry is disintegrating is remarkable. The model no longer works, at least not for most papers. And most of the industry seems incapable of–or unwilling to–adapt to the new reality.
AP: Hearst Corp. put Seattle’s oldest newspaper, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, up for sale Friday, saying that if it can’t find a buyer in the next 60 days, the paper will close or continue to exist only on the Internet.
“These options include a move to a digital only operation with a greatly reduced staff, or a complete shutdown of all operations,” Hearst, the P-I’s parent company, said in a statement. “In no case will Hearst continue to publish the P-I in printed form following the conclusion of this process…”
The mood in the newsroom was grim. Some staff members cried, others were angry.
“People are kind of depressed. There’s some crying,” said Candace Heckman, P-I breaking news editor who has worked at the paper since 2000…
“People are just pretty shocked and amazed,” said [another staffer] who has been at the paper for eight years.
Here’s the PI’s own write-up:
After 146 years of delivering news, the Seattle P-I faces becoming what it has chronicled: history.
The Seattle P-I’s parent company, The Hearst Corp., said Friday that it has put the paper up for sale and will stop publishing unless someone buys it in 60 days. If no buyer emerges, the paper would either become a Web-only publication or cease all operations.
“We’ve been on the knife edge all this time,” P-I managing editor David McCumber said Friday. “We finally slipped.”
Economic reasons have forced the state’s oldest morning newspaper into a sale, Steven Swartz, president of The Hearst Corp.’s newspaper division, told employees Friday.
“One thing is clear: At the end of the sale process, we do not see ourselves publishing in print,” Swartz told employees gathered in the newsroom overlooking Elliott Bay. “Since 2000, the P-I has lost money each year, and the losses have escalated and continue to escalate in 2009. We have had to make a very tough decision.”
Hearst said the P-I lost about $14 million in 2008.