News Cycle

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RIP: Seattle P-I, With a Cold Send-Off From Management

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Hal Bernton, a reporter from The Seattle Times addresses his colleagues in front of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer offices today.

Hal Bernton, a reporter from The Seattle Times addresses his colleagues in front of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer offices today.

St. Patrick’s Day was the last day you can hold a current issue of the 146-year-old Seattle Post-Intelligencer in your hand as it publishes on newsprint for the final time. After that, the Hearst Corp. says the daily publication will only be available online.

“Tonight we’ll be putting the paper to bed for the last time,” editor and publisher Roger Oglesby told a silent newsroom Monday morning, according to the paper’s own coverage by By Dan Richman and Andrea James. “But the bloodline will live on.”

Of its 181 employees, sources say that about 40 will remain.

Here is a slide show that chronicles the events in the newsroom.

But management couldn’t help itself from spitting on the face of the 140 people they just gave pink slips to. Here, Executive Producer Michelle Nicolosi discusses some of the changes the organization will face.

We don’t have reporters, editors or producers—everyone will do and be everything. Everyone will write, edit, take photos and shoot video, produce multimedia and curate the home page. That’ll be a training challenge for everyone, but we’re all up for the challenge and totally ready to pick up all these skills.

But, in the coldest send-off on record, she also notes …

My staff and I are thrilled to have the chance to prove that an online-only news operation can make money and do a great job serving readers. Literally, I’m getting emails from staff with the subject line, “Woo!” And Tweets that read, “I’m so excited about everything…can’t even describe the feeling…”

If those emails are accurate, then the P-I staff is the most callous, mind-numbing, thoughtless people on the face of the earth. How can you possibly be involved in any organization that decapitates itself and sends roughly 75 percent of its colleagues out on the streets? If those quotes are true, Nicolosi and her fellow henchmen need to take a long look in the mirror. Truly, it is one of the most heartless things to print on the day your kicking 140 or so people out the door.

The paper, which currently had a daily circulation of 117,600, began in 1863, when Seattle was a frontier town. The P-I lost $14 million last year, and Hearst is banking on the idea that by eliminating the production expenses, it could reverse its losing trend. It has not turned a profit since 1999.

In a news release, Hearst CEO Frank Bennack Jr. said, “Our goal now is to turn seattlepi.com into the leading news and information portal in the region.”

Its competitor, the Times, will deliver a copy of its publication to every P-I subscriber on Wednesday.

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Written by newscycle

March 17, 2009 at 5:37 pm

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