Monday, March 16, 2009

PI goes digital, print edition to close, Times takes subscribers

The Hearst Corporation announced today that tomorrow's print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer will be the 146-year-old newspaper's last. The paper will lay off the bulk of the newspaper's 170 staffers and employ only about 20 editorial staff and 20 advertising representatives to operate a web-only version of the paper.

The final print edition will include a 20-page special commemorative section, detailing the P-I's 146 year history. A photo of the newspaper's 170-person staff and a cartoon from Pulitzer-Prize winning cartoonist David Horsey of the paper's landmark globe are also expected. The cartoon is said to include an image of the the eagle atop the globe flying away into the sunset.

Steven R. Swartz, president of Hearst Newspapers, promises the P-I website will be more than just an online newspaper. "It's an effort to craft a new type of digital business with a robust, community news and information Web site at its core," he said.

According to Nielsen Online, the P-I website had 1.8 million unique visitors and 50 million page views in February. Nielsen has included the P-I's website among the top 30 in the country. The P-I is the largest paper to go all digital.

Although the website will likely only be a shell of its former self it will continue to feature local favorites, such as columnists Art Thiel (sports) and Joel Connelly (political); bloggers Monica Guzman (The Big Blog) and Casey McNerthney (Seattle 911); and cartoonist Horsey.

Hearst said new columnists will include former Seattle mayor Norm Rice, Congressman Jim McDermott, Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson and others, including two former governors.

In addition, the website will feature: 150 reader blogs, community data bases, photo galleries, and a digital yellow pages directory.

Michelle Nicolosi, executive producer of the P-I's website since 2005, will continue to lead the operation. Nicolosi was previously an investigative reporter at the P-I. She was also previously the editor of Online Journalism Review ( and taught journalism at the University of Southern California. Prior to that, Nicolosi was a reporter at the Orange County Register, where she was a lead reporter on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Fertility Fraud series.

Subscribers of the P-I's print edition will have their subscription switched automatically to The Seattle Times, the P-I's former cross-town rival. The days of delivery service and expiration date will remain unchanged and your billing cycle will continue as before. If you have any questions or concerns about your subscription, call 206-652-6325 or toll free at 1-800-542-0820.

The Seattle Times has set up a frequently asked questions link on their website.

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