Seattle P-I On the Market: Will Close or Go Web Only if Buyer Not Found

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Seattle P-I), one of two daily newspapers servicing Seattle, Washington is on the market, and will switch to web only or close if a buyer can’t be found.

Owner Hearst Corporation said in a statement that it had hired newspaper industry investment bankers Broadwater & Associates to find a buyer for the paper. The reasons given were economic: the paper hasn’t been profitable since 2000, and Hearst doesn’t see the situation changing.

Steven Swartz, President of the Hearst Corp.’s newspaper division said on the sale “One thing is clear: at the end of the sale process, we do not see ourselves publishing in print.” The formal statement stated “In no case will Hearst continue to publish the P-I in printed form following the conclusion of this process. “

Seattle P-I has more details here, including staff reactions.

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The likelihood of a sale in the current climate is slim, but all may not be lost for the paper as a viable online only outlet; the memorable line in the report on the staff meeting where the announcement was made: “Others held up cell phones or voice recorders in press-conference fashion.” Naturally video of the meeting has appeared on the Seattle P-I’s website (below), so you can only really say “you’re doing it right.”

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer was founded in 1863.