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Seattle P.I.

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Angola!, Jul 10, 2006.

  1. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    A little birdie told me that the general consensus at the P.I. is that it will fold within a year.
    Personally, this is very upsetting news to me as I grew up reading the P.I. and find it to be a much, much better paper than the Times. And even if you - the reader of this post - doesn't find it to be any better, it is still better, in my opinion, that a major city like Seattle have two papers.
    Anyone heard anything? What are your thoughts on the P.I.'s possible demise?
  2. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    There was a thread on this a month or two ago. Ran pretty long too, if you're interested.
  3. gumbojumbo

    gumbojumbo Guest

    A) Any update is appreciated, for so many threads on here are redundant and more speculative than informative.
    B) I wonder if the Blethen family is related to the Ridders. This makes you actually pull for a big chain over greedy and deceptive families. Maybe the Blethens are related to the greedy members of the Chandlers or Binghams.
    C) Is it the right time of day to ask Tony Ridder to gag on his money?
  4. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    I know there was a thread on this in the last couple of months, but I was shocked after I talked to my birdie the other night. I also heard the P.I. lost its Seahawks writer to the Times and his exit was not pretty toward those at the P.I.
    I think Ron Matthews (sp.?) is cool as hell and that him and the rest of the staff deserve better than this.
    That is all.
  5. • I think it's unlikely the paper can shut within a year. It'd probably be 18 months after any announcement.
    • Ron Matthews is cool.
    • Although the P.I. has denied pursuing the idea, I think the paper can survive online only. Especially if, in return for ending the print run, they continue to get funding from the JOA. Not sure how much leaner the staff would be, but I think it could happen.
  6. Al_Czervik

    Al_Czervik Member

    Two copyediting jobs at the PI were posted today at journalismjobs.com.

    Counting those two jobs, I know of at least six positions that have been/will be filled at the PI since late June.

    Edit: Forgot about the night SE position. Good call, Left Coast.
  7. Left_Coast

    Left_Coast Active Member

    They've been looking for a night SE, but I don't know how far along they are.
  8. Here's all I can add about the situation in Seattle:
    • The decision to send their dispute to arbitration is widely considered a death nail for the P.I's argument. They have almost no chance of winning it. The Times has too many years of consecutive losses for the P.I. to escape on a technicality (i.e. the strike) like it has before.
    • The best thing the P.I. can hope for is a tie in the arbitration hearing by having a decision handed down that says the JOA can't be dissolved (slim chance of that happening), in which case the two papers would renegotiate the JOA. The Times needs at least that to happen because they're locked into a losing situation right now. They gave the P.I. an extra six percent of the profits when they renegotiated the JOA in the late 90s so the Times, which holds all the overhead on the newspapers' joint operations, could switch to morning publication and have been locked in a money-bleeding situation ever since (and will be for the next 80 or so years unless the JOA changes). The Times expected the P.I. to shut down after the switch, and those expectations led the Times to open the hiring floodgates, which eventually put them in a worse situation. It got seriously burned in the end. So if the arbitrator comes up short of allowing the dissolvement of the JOA, then there's hope because the two papers likely would move toward a quick resolution.
    • Ron Matthews is a great guy and a great editor who will land on his feet somewhere if the P.I. falters. The P.I.'s sports section, IMHO, is one of the most innovative sections in the country. I love their concept for Page 2 -- SportsDay. Read it daily if you get a chance (a .pdf is available on their Web site). It's a fresh approach to an otherwise overused concept.
    • Lastly, I don't know how anyone gets any work done in that newsroom. It has the most spectacular view of Elliott Bay and, on a clear day, the Olympic mountains. With the entire west-facing wall one big window, it's like looking at a gorgeous panoramic picture in motion. Breathtaking.
  9. WSKY

    WSKY Member

    It's been rumored for years that it was going to fold. The P.I. is here to stay.
  10. POKES

    POKES New Member

    The Blethen family owns 51% of the Times; McClatchy is the new owner of the other 49%. McClatchy also owns the nearby Tacoma-News Tribune, a beautiful paper with a circulation fast approaching the P-I (correct me if I'm wrong, but I think they're within 10k circ now). Also, a new estate tax has recently been passed which, if I've interpreted it right, is very favorable to the Blethen family and may motivate them to sell their stake with greatly reduced tax penalties for the family. McClatchy could be on the verge of dominating the Pacific NW market.

    At the same time, Hearst has not put much money (aside from JOA lawyer fees) into the P-I for a while. Although jobs are posted, many more have gone unfilled or closed; even when all positions are filled, the desk is understaffed and overworked. In addition, I've heard from people at the SF Chron that the Hearst takeovers in San Francisco and Houston did not go as well as planned financially, and they may be a bit hesitant to get into a similar situation. If nothing else, they are hesitant to put cash into the paper until the JOA dispute is resolved.

    These considerations, combined with the 18-month countdown to a binding JOA arbitration that is unlikely to go the P-I's way, does not bode well for our friends on Elliott Bay.

    However, that shouldn't stop anyone with mobility and a backup plan from applying for a copy editing job in sports. It's a chance to work with an exceptionally fun and talented desk. Just don't buy a house and you'll be fine. Consider it a long vacation in a great part of the country.

    Ron Matthews and Nick Russo are co-SEs. They are both very, very cool.
  11. Left_Coast

    Left_Coast Active Member

    P.I. M-F: 131,769; papers combined on weekends so no good comparision
    Tacoma M-F: 125,228 (Sundays 137,730)
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