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.