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Seattle likely to lose one of two major dailies

Seattle to lose major newspaper

Seattle to lose major newspaper

As the potential end of one the West Coast’s most storied newspapers approaches, the staff of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (P-I) is being asked for ideas on how to save their jobs—maybe.

Executives of the Hearst Corp., owner of the P-I since 1921, want to create a leaner, profitable, online-only presence for the newspaper. They wrote to all employees Thursday requesting “ideas for partnerships, part-time models, revenue sharing, freelancing and any other creative types of structures that might help us reach our goal of creating a profitable business model in the market.”

The memo followed an announcement by Hearst that unless a buyer for the newspaper was soon found, the P-I would either stop printing by March 9 or go solely online with a smaller staff.

The P-I lost $14 million in 2008 and its circulation has dropped to about 117,000. Seattle’s other daily, the Seattle Times, may be in a better position to weather the recession if the P-I folds, said the Times’ publisher in a statement. The Times has a circulation of about 198,000.

Founded in 1863 as the city’s first newspaper, former P-I writers include Elements of Style author E.B. White and Dune author Frank Herbert. The son-in-law and daughter of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt published and edited the newspaper during the 1930s and 40s.

P-I staffers are chronicling their days in limbo via a blog.

–Michael Blankenheim

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