19 March 2009

Seattle P-I Becomes Online-Only

America’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer has converted to an online-only newspaper this week.

Owner Hearst Corporation says the Seattle P-I is the biggest American daily newspaper to cease print production and become a web-only operation after it printed its final edition on Tuesday.

The New York Times reports that the move will be closely watched by other titles operating “in an industry that is fast losing revenue and is casting around for a new economic model”.

It continues: “The move shows how some newspapers, in the future, may not vanish but move the battle from print to the digital arena.”

A minority of editorial staff will be kept on to produce content for the website, which is to become more like an opinion and news aggregation site rather than a traditional news website with investigative reports.

Some people are taking an optimistic view of the change and see it as a chance to be at the forefront of news experimentation in the digital age.

“We clearly believe we are in a period of innovation and experimentation, and that’s what this new SeattlePI.com represents,” said Steven Swartz, president of the newspaper division at Hearst.

However, some ex-staffers have expressed their concern at the lack of investigative reporting that will be carried out by the new online-only SeattlePI.com.

“The thing that’s always been closest to my heart is The P-I’s coverage of the underdog, people who are invisible,” said Ruth Teichroeb, an investigative reporter for almost 12 years with the newspaper.

She added: “Those people who have the least voice in society are losing access to another part of the mainstream media.”

To see more reactions from editorial staff to the print closure, see the below video which features interviews with columnists, reporters, editors and photographers.

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