Hearst to close Seattle P-I

Thanks to P-I graphics and design editor Julie Simon for the front page images

The Hearst Corp., announced today that it will close the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on Tuesday. The March 17 newspaper will be the final edition of the 146-year-old, 118,000-circulation newspaper.

Hearst, which is privately held, owns 15 other daily newspapers, 49 weekly papers and nearly 200 magazines. The company says it lost $14 million on the P-I last year. Since 1983, the paper has been in a Joint Operating Agreement with the Seattle Times, which handles the business operations for both newspapers. The newsrooms operated separately.

Hearst said it will maintain seattlepi.com, making it the nation’s largest daily paper to shift to an entirely digital news product. “Tonight we’ll be putting the paper to bed for the last time,” editor and publisher Roger Oglesby said on Monday. “But the bloodline will live on.”

The Post-Intelligencer won 59 awards from the Society’s annual Best of Newspaper Design™ competition in the last 10 years.

Hearst also owns the San Francisco Chronicle, which lost more than $50 million last year. The company and the Northern California Media Workers Guild reached a tentative agreement March 9 on cuts Hearst says are necessary to the newspaper’s survival. The company says it expects to eliminate 150 of 483 guild-represented positions across the newspaper. The agreement must be ratified by the guild membership in a vote that could come as early as Thursday.

What happens next in Seattle will happen online. The P-I reported last week that a handful of the paper’s 180 employees were made “provisional offers” to stay on, at reduced salary, and produce an online-only version of the paper. Another group is looking for startup money to start a website “to allow P-I reporters to continue serving Seattle as watchdogs and informing the public.”

MORE

» Executive Producer Michelle Nicolosi talks about the new SeattlePI.com [Seattle P-I]

» Memo to the new P-I: Don’t look back [Reflections of a Newsosaur]

» Last Rites [Newsvine CEO Mike Davidson]

» Post Post-Intelligencer [Seattle Weekly]

» Seattle Post–Intelligencer: Turning the Page [KUOW]

» Mike Lewis: Goodbye PI [KPLU]