The Seattle P-I is being put up for sale, and if after 60 days it has not sold, it will either be turned into a Web-only publication with a greatly reduced staff or discontinued entirely.And that paper is... the Seattle Times, which is, of course, the one I dislike intensely. Hopefully, the P.I. will retain its awesome investigative staff and go fully functional online. If not, I hope the best of the P.I.'s intrepid reporters end up over at the Stranger, thus expanding its awesomeness exponentially.
"One thing is clear: at the end of the sale process, we do not see ourselves publishing in print," said Steven Swartz, president of the Hearst Corp.'s newspaper division.
Hearst isn't likely to find a buyer for the paper, said one expert.
"The odds of finding someone to buy a newspaper in this time are very, very low," said Stephen Lacy, a professor of communications and journalism at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.
He said the current deep recession, coupled with the technological transition to the Internet, "prevent a comparison to any other time in history in terms of how hard life is for newspapers."
In addition, he said, there is only room for one newspaper in Seattle -- probably the one with the bigger circulation, because that's the one advertisers can use more effectively.
Well, it does say it's "Seattle's Only Newspaper." Compared to the Times, and in the absence of the P.I., that wouldn't be such a bad thing.
The same thing will happen to the Chicago Tribune, that is clear. The only consolation is that they had the chance to endorse Barack Obama, their first Democrat ever, before it happened.
Of the two papers in Seattle, the P-I is the better one. That's what's sad about this. Given the 60-day sale period, Hearst seems determined to crumple the P-I up and throw it away.
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