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Seattle Post-Intelligencer to cease print ed., go web-only

From AP via

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which has chronicled the news of the city since logs slid down its steep streets to the harbour and miners caroused in its bars before heading north to Alaska's gold fields, will print its final edition Tuesday.

Hearst Corp., which owns the 146-year-old P-I, said Monday that it failed to find a buyer for the newspaper, which it put up for a 60-day sale in January after years of losing money. Now the P-I will shift entirely to the Web.

“Tonight will be the final run, so let's do it right,” publisher Roger Oglesby told the newsroom.

Hearst's decision to abandon the print product in favour of an Internet-only version is the first for a large American newspaper, raising questions about whether the company can make money in a medium where others have come up short.

Seattle still has a newspaper: The Seattle Times (circ. 199K, to the P-I's 117K), which has its own financial demons to wrestle with. It has cut 500 jobs in the past year.

Here's numbers on staffing for the website:

The P-I had 181 employees, but Managing Editor David McCumber said the website would employ about 20 in the newsroom operation and another 20 to sell ads. He said he would not be working on the new site.

Steven R. Swartz, president of Hearst Newspapers, said the online P-I would not just be “a newspaper online.”

“It's an effort to craft a new type of digital business with a robust, community news and information Web site at its core,” Mr. Swartz said.

Hearst said the online edition will include some of the newspaper's marquee names, including sports columnist Art Thiel, political columnist Joel Connelly and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist David Horsey. Mr. Horsey also is under contract to continue drawing for Hearst's other newspapers.

In February, the P-I Web site had 1.8 million unique visitors and 50 million page views, according to Nielsen Online.

Mon, March 16 2009 » Main Page, Media