P-I may be online only

Seattle Newspaper Sale

Tuesday, March 10, is D-Day for the Seattle Post-Intellegencer, when its owner, Hearst Corp. plans to announce if a buyer has been found. If not, it will close the newspaper and according to a story on the P-I’s Web site,  is planning to start an online publication on the day after the final print newspaper is published.

It will become an online news product only, leaving the print version in the dust.

While an announcement hasn’t been made by Hearst yet, Seattlepi.com reports that the company has made offers to some staff to stay on and work for the online edition.

Hearst also owns the San Francisco Chronicle and could make the same move there. It is seeking  job cuts from its union, and without them and the savings the cuts could bring, would either sell the paper or close it.

The story I’m working on for Spot.us about the future of Bay Area journalism, specifically online journalism, is looking at the possibility of online-only news from Bay Area papers. I’ve been trying for about a month to reach someone at the Chronicle for this story, but so far haven’t had any callbacks or replies, other than queries from Phil Bronstein about whether anyone is getting back to me.

The executive editor at the Contra Costa Times, Kevin Keane, has told me that he expects print to stay around at his newspapers because there’s a market for it that is served best by print.

Unless a company is starting from scratch, I expect that newspapers would only be exclusively on the Web as a last resort before closing their doors.  If a buyer can’t be found for the Chronicle, it’s a viable option. It is in Seattle.

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One thought on “P-I may be online only

  1. Vince Yambrovich

    At this rate we’ll have as many print newspapers closing this year as we do banks (17 banks down so far in 2009.) Do you get the feeling that you’re riding the fault line of a Richter Scale Magnitude 9 earthquake? I know this makes it tough to wrap your project on the future of Bay area journalism – the ground is shifting beneath your feet. As far as the SF Chronicle not getting back to you – your hoped-for sources are literally in a life-and-death struggle right now – serving as a source for a scholarly article is a low-to-no priority right now… You may just have to conduct the best, most penetrating independent investigation you can do and infer and report reasonable conclusions.

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