The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has ceased to exist as its ink-and-dead-tree readers know it. The P-I will live on (for now) as an online paper.
As NPR reports, if any Web-based “paper” has a chance to make it online, odds should favor the P-I, seeing as Seattle is a tech-savvy, progressive town.
The online version of the P-I will employ roughly 40 people in newsroom and ad sales jobs (no press operators or delivery facilities required), down from about 181 in the print P-I. Managing Editor David McCumber told the Associated Press he would not be working on the new site.
Seattle joins Denver in becoming a one-newspaper town. San Francisco appears to be next.
There is no end in sight. This is worrisome on many levels.
One, it’s putting a lot of good journalists out of work.
Two, it’s leaving a huge vacuum in keeping governments and businesses honest. You think government malfeasance is bad now? You think AIG and Lehman Bros. and Merrill Lynch and all the rest of the financial “shenanigans” (See Cramer vs. uhhhh, Cramer) perpetrators got a way with a lot now?
What will happen when there is nobody left reporting, actually reporting, the news? Here’s what will happen:
And this just in:
The Tucson Citizen will cease publication on Saturday, March 21, reports BNet, quoting Editor & Publisher, citing the Associated Press. The paper that once covered Wild West shootouts is now covering its own public death.
“A day when blood flowed as water, and human life was held as a shuttlecock, a day always to be remembered as witnessing the bloodiest and the deadliest street fight that has ever occurred in this place, or probably in the territory.”
This account described Wyatt Earp’s 1881 shootout at the OK Corral, but it could just as aptly describe the fate of Arizona’s oldest newspaper.
Writes the AP: “The final Citizen will be a 24-page commemorative edition delivered on Saturday. About 20,000 copies will be printed and available in news racks for a couple of days.”
Deja vu: Twenty-two years ago, the Columbus Citizen-Journal died just as yours truly was about to graduate from j-school across town at Ohio State. I still have a commemorative copy stuffed away in some hidden corner of my house. The closing flooded the job market, not too great at the time for starters, with a slew of experienced journalistas. Gloom and doom, the gloom- and doom-sayers pronounced, declaring newspapers dead. TV killed ’em, they said. But newspapers generally prospered for another decade and a half before things really went south in a hurry. And now you know the rest of the story …
And now a word from “The Future of Newspapers.”