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Monday, March 16, 2009

Is Seattle Now A One Newspaper Town?

The Seattle Post Intelligencer's site redirected to this page for a few hours this evening.
Speculation as to when, not if, one of Seattle's two major newspapers would stop printing has abounded ever since the paper's owner, Hearst, announced that they would be shutting the paper down if no buyer was found by mid-March.

Tonight the newspaper's site, seattlepi.nwsource.com, which is hosted from the same domain as the other Seattle newspaper, The Seattle Times, redirected to a failover site with limited availability for a brief time as part of a split that put the Seattle PI in it's own www.seattlepi.com domain, which subsequently broke just about every link that anyone ever put up to an article that was published on the Seattle Post Intelligencer's site.

(I'm currently looking into fixing the links on this site, if possible, so bear with me if a link to any given story isn't working for a while. I just hope that these stories don't end up gone for good if the whole paper and site go down completely.)

Hopefully, instead of shutting down completely the Seattle PI will be going to an online-only format at least, even though that would mean that they likely won't have some of the really hard-hitting investigative pieces that Seattle desperately needs to read about... like police misconduct stories for example. (and yes, police officers have been gloating and cheering about the shutdown at the newspaper's site since the announcement was made) But it would be better than nothing as rumors are that the The Seattle Times may not survive through this year either, leaving Seattle a newspaperless town.

The sudden splitting of the domain tonight may be a sign that the paper's demise is imminent though... and if so the temporary domain left up during the switch was an unintentionally prescient "http://disaster.seattlepi.nwsource.com".

4 comments:

Five Before Midnight said...

That's awful. We're a one-paper town though since Texas bought it from the publishing family, it's been going down the tubes. So much so, the previous owner wrote a letter in protest that was published in the letters section.

But it's had its staff stripped to the bare bones and then they come in and do another round of layoffs and buyouts. Pretty soon, there will be one reporter covering the beat of a city that's populated by 300,000 people.

The San Francisco Chronicle's probably a goner and the Rocky Mountain News, already gone leaving Denver with the Post which is a Singleton paper.

Packratt said...

Yes, it's actually devastating news to tell the truth as the PI was the source of some of the best investigative reporting on police corruption and misconduct in Seattle and King County, and that won't be replaced. Nobody else has both the resources and will to do the same.

(I have the will, but no resources, others have resources, but no will)

The other paper, The Seattle Times, is also reportedly heading towards a meltdown before the year is up, leaving Seattle as the first major US city without a real local newspaper.

I shudder to think about how the police are planning to celebrate that.

Five Before Midnight said...

Yes, it's very hard to find both the will and the resources in the same place!


L.A. lost its only competitor, the Herald Examiner years ago but the Times is a mess. They raised the price to $0.75 but it's a much smaller paper. They had some really good stuff written on the LAPD but it's harder now.

Actually, some RMN folks might be putting together an online newspaper if they can get 50,000 customers.

In other news, the Anaheim Police Department officer who shot and killed Julian Alexander won't be charged with any crimes. Alexander came out to confront what he thought was a prowler and was shot by an officer.

Not surprising. Alexander grew up in my city and was buried here.

Packratt said...

Yes, it seems like a lot of papers are facing problems now, it's definitely a worrisome trend and I'm not sure there really is anything sufficient in place to replace them.

It was made official today though, the Seattle PI prints their last issue tomorrow and will be an online-only news source, but with a very limited staff that won't include their investigative reporters.

It's a sad day, and there will be no way for us to know for sure what we lost.

As for Alexander, I remember that story, he was a father to be as well, wasn't he? Terribly sad that he died just trying to protect his family. Just plain depressing really, I'm sorry to hear nobody will be held to account for his senseless death.

 
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