Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Death of a newspaper

The final print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is out on the streets -- if you can find one that is.

I spent the morning visiting one empty PI box after another and every store along my route from home to work was sold-out as well.

The good news... I hear there will be a second distribution this afternoon. In the worst case scenerio, I have a few contacts on the black market who may be able to help.

Josh Trujillio, a P-I photographer, noted that the final edition includes some humor from the obituary section. Among the obits you will find the P-I itself.

POST-INTELLIGENCER: Seattle, 146, of Seattle, March 17.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Globe stays put says PI

The Associated Press reports that the landmark Seattle Post-Intelligencer globe atop the newspaper's headquarters on Elliot Ave will go nowhere -- at least for a couple more years.

P-I managing editor David McCumber said that the web-only version will be housed in the same building that once was buzzing with as many as 170 employees. Although the web staff will number no more than 50, the P-I has a couple years left on its lease.

Therefore, the globe will continue spinning overhead as the P-I seeks to redefine itself online. If successful, the globe could come to represent not only Seattle but a new model for the struggling newspaper industry.

Should I continue my petition to save the globe? Sound off in the comments of this post or cast your vote on the sidebar of this blog.

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 (www.ojr.org) 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.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

PI website down Sunday

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer website went down Sunday. The redirect url (http://disaster.seattlepi.nwsource.com/) included the term "disaster." Let's hope this is not a sign of what comes when the staff show up to their offices tomorrow morning.

UPDATE: The P-I website broke from its traditional web host, seattlepi.nwsource.com at midnight PST on Monday morning. The 146-year-old newspaper's URL is now simply, seattlepi.com. The move may signal Heart's intention to keep an online presence as they move to end the paper's print edition and Joint Operation Agreement with The Seattle Times.

Friday, March 13, 2009

PI globe speaks

I am glad I am not the only one telling corny stories... The Seattle Post-Intelligencer globe is now speaking for itself. Check out this new opinion piece written by the globe itself (seriously, I'm not making this up):
When I first started getting so much attention I thought I was going to be repaired. I thought, "Finally -- new neon. No more rust." When more and more people were coming up onto the roof I figured something was up. Maybe the president is on his way to see me, or U2 was going to do a rooftop concert in my shadow. Then I saw all the cameras, the posing and a few tears between hugs of condolence. I overheard snippets of conversation and questions wondering what was going to happen to the globe. 
I felt bad. I knew I wasn't the gleaming beauty I used to be. I assumed I was going to be dismantled and replaced by a brand-new modern symbol. Then I learned it wasn't about me, it was about the business. I went from feeling bad to worse. I wished I could break away somehow and roll through the streets with a rallying cry for help.
Now the globe has found a voice, I am glad to have its full support in my effort to keep the globe here in Seattle:
The company I've been a mascot for all these years is evolving, although nobody seems to know to what extent. In addition to the worry of job loss, there is also concern for my welfare. I truly do appreciate the attention, especially from the folks who have actually gone to the trouble to petition for my residency to remain in Seattle. 
I do so want to stay here. Seattle is my home. I was born here from an idea and created by people whose workmanship is in itself a lost art form.
The globe also supports my idea of moving itself to the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park or the Museum of History and Industry:
I wouldn't mind living on in a museum, and don't you think for one second that I haven't noticed that Olympic Sculpture Park -- I think I could serve some sort of visceral purpose there for sure. 
Please keep me here. I want to continue to be looked at and admired for the piece of artistic history that I am. Put me on display. What else am I going to do? I can't dance. I can't sing. I can't blog.
Read the globe's full impassioned plea. Click here!

Influence: Let's use it

Influence… That’s the name of the game in Washington, D.C. – who’s got it, who knows how to use it. Fortunately for us, we got three local politicians now in the Obama Administration who now has it:
  • Ron Sims, deputy secretary of Housing and Urban Development
  • Gov. Gary Locke, secretary of Commerce
  • Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy
I am not saying that it means they are going to consciously play favorites when it comes to the allocation of federal resources or the interests of Washingtonians. However, any honest observer knows that their appointments represent a great advantage to our state.

They know of projects here at home which are in need of federal funding. They are more likely to pick up a call if it’s from someone back home. They may pick other locals whom they know to work for them on their staff.

It happens all the time. It’s nothing malicious but it something that we should fully utilize for our benefit. I can assure you politicians in other states do it everyday. Let’s not allow Seattle’s nice and laid-back manner get in the way.

So, if you know them, call them.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Petition to save PI globe

According to to an article on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (PI) website, the end of the newspaper's published edition seems to be approaching.

Oddly enough, I have to come to accept this. It is with a heavy heart that I have come to realize that this may be what is necessary to save Seattle's other daily newspaper, The Seattle Times.

Once a staunch supporter of a two newspaper town, the thought of a "no newspaper town" is far scarier to me than losing the PI. However, the real reason for this post is my concern over an important Seattle landmark.

The 30-foot steel globe atop the PI headquarters has come to symbolize more than a Seattle institution. I have heard reporters of the PI speak of the globe as a reminder to them about their journalistic ethics. The strong eagle figure being symbol of honesty, integrity, etc.

Personally, I view it as a important piece of local history, made even more significant by the potential closure of the 146-year-old paper. It's glorious glow can be seen far out into Eliot Bay and down the South slope of Queen Anne.

Until 1986, when the PI relocated, it was also perched atop the newspaper's building at Sixth Avenue and Wall Street near the Seattle Center. In a town where many historical landmarks have fallen to make way for condos and skyscrapers, this is one landmark I believe is worth saving.

A history of the globe can be found on the PI website. It includes example of how the globe reflects the life and times of Seattlites:
The globe, which uses about 38 kilowatts per hour when fully lit, has been turned off several times during power shortages.
The globe now rests on a pyramidal base conceived by Seattle artist Clair Colquitt, who felt the base should serve as an aesthetic transition between the modern office building and the whimsical neon symbol.
So, here's my plan. Admittedly, I should probably call the PI, the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) or the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) first before putting this out there in cyberspace. However, I will have to pass that baton onto one of my dear readers. The best I can do is an online petition to the Hearst Corp.

Should the PI shutter its operations and close for good, I would like to see the globe donated to a local nonprofit capable of caring for it, such as MOHAI or the SAM.

SAM's Sculpture Park for example is just down the street from the globe's current location and if it was properly placed on a pillar or platform it would be a nice attraction.

Likewise, MOHAI would be a perfect custodian of this Seattle landmark. The goal of the organization is to preserve such artifacts. Their lack-luster nondescript building in the Montlake area could use a show-stopping stunner like the PI globe. At least people like myself could drive by from time to time to soak our wounds regarding the closure of the PI.