Monday, January 12, 2009

Intelligence Briefing

For those of us breathlessly following all of the recent doom and gloom stories about the newspaper biz, a particularly hard pill to swallow comes with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Hearst Corp. has put the paper up for sale with a 60-day deadline attached. If a buyer isn’t found after two months, the paper will cease its printed publication and revert to an online-only format. Prospects for such a buyout are, understandably, grim.

The P-I was founded in 1863 and has a lot of its legacy tied up in the golden age of print media. Hearst’s purchase of the publication himself in the early 20th Century was in the foreground of and the expansion of the business to the westernmost states.

Current slash-or-crash pressures put on by the never-ending dip have forced venerable institutions like the Christian Science Monitor to discontinue its printed content as well, while publications like the San Diego Union-Tribune also find their fate on the bubble. Add the Sun-Times juggernaut, which has had to close 12 of its suburban papers while reporters are getting the axe left and right, and 2009 is already shaping up to be an awful year to find your hands dirty with newspaper ink.

Here at TR Central we’ve come to admire many of the blogs the P-I has used to reach out to a national audience. These blogs may yet help the Seattle institution retain some of its luster if the online conversion comes to fruition. Expect to here more news about the shifting trends in print media on this blog and in our weekly newsletter.

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