Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bang the drum slowly for the P-I

From The Daily Historian:

Some still mourn the death of the Oregon Journal in 1982. Now 2009 appears likely to mark the end of another Pacific Northwest newspaper, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The P-I's impending doom has been widely blamed on the Internet bleeding away advertising dollars, but in other ways there is a similarity in the sad downward spiral of the P-I and the Journal.

The Journal was Portland's afternoon paper for 80 years. It crusaded for everything from pure milk to dredging the Columbia River navigation channel, pledging to always be fair and never dull or selfish. But the heir-apparent for its publishership died in a helicopter crash and a 1959 labor strike further eroded the Journal's financial position. In 1961, it was in effect sold to The Oregonian and eventually folded into it.

The P-I operated for nearly 60 years before acquisition by Hearst in 1921, and has shared the Journal's progressive bloodlines. But now, the Hearst Corporation has placed the P-I up for sale, which as someone in news business has noted, is today's corporate euphemism for "cease publication." If anything, it may continue as a Web-only product.

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