Friday, January 9, 2009

So Long to the Seattle Post Intelligencer

I did a very difficult thing today. I canceled my subscription to The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. We had already reduced the subscription to just Sundays but even that became too much. My husband and I reached this decision this weekend after reading through their Sunday edition. This comes at a time when the PI has just announced that they are putting the newspaper up for sale for 60 days and if it is not sold (which they are sure is what will happen) then they will close.

It is really a sad day for this city. The loss of the great writers, photographers and editors that we've enjoyed over the years will be bad enough. But when we add the long tradition of this newspaper and the historic ties with this city it becomes quite distressing. I don't want to seem trivial but I'm worried about the PI's globe. This is a Seattle landmark and we've already seen too many of them go. The globe was built in 1948 and has graced our skyline since then and I would miss it if it were gone. Remember the Rainier sign!!

We have been a fortunate city in that we have had two strong newspapers for more than a 100 years, The Seattle PI being first and the Seattle Times coming a few years later. Of course in those days multiple newspapers were the norm so the PI and the Times had more competition then. In modern times though it is fairly unusual for a city of our size to have two newspapers but we Seattleites are readers so we've managed to keep them both afloat. But times have changed and cities all over the country are having a hard time keeping even one newspaper in business let alone two.

The Times and the PI have been going at it for years but in the last 25 years as advertising dollars have become increasingly scarce it has become even more hostile. They've spent more time in court with each other than even the most heated of divorce couples. But in the end Hearst, the owners of the PI, were unable to turn the downward spiral around and were unwilling to sink any more money into the newspaper even in order to defeat their nemesis.

Personally I have always supported the PI over the Times. The Seattle Times has become conservative over the years. Their headlines and editorials during the recent gubernatorial race between (D) Governor Christine Gregoire and (R) Idiot Dino Rossi were so obviously biased as to be a joke. It was the opinion pages this last weekend that was the final straw for me.

Since 1983 the PI and the Times have been working through a Joint Operating Agreement. This means that they issue just one Sunday Times between the two of them. Recently the opinion pages have featured little but letters to the editor in the PI opinion pages while conservative creepo editorial columnists appear in the Times portion. Broder is a Republican apologist and Krauthammer still thinks (along with about 9 other people in the world) that George W. Bush did a good job. Now with the country firmly in the center and starting to lean left, and the King County area totally to the left, why would you, as our soon to be only local newspaper, feature two columnists spouting this garbage?

But I digress. I just want to wish all of those who've worked for the PI or are currently working for the PI a great Thank You and Good Luck. It is a terrible thing what is happening to our newspapers in the country. It might be bad for us if we do not fill their void with another source of FREE press. Remember what Jefferson said "Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it" (1786). So be aware people because we are all very much in danger of losing it.

1 comment:

  1. It's definitely a scary time to be in the newspaper business... which is unfortunate, as I'm an editor myself! I hope the PI finds a buyer and Seattle doesn't lose its beloved globe! We all just have to ride the stormy economy a little while longer -- things will eventually settle down. How everything will stand at that point, I have no idea... we shall see!