Seattle could become the next major US city to have only one daily newspaper. Hearst Corporation announced on Friday that it has put the Post-Intelligencer up for sale and will stop publishing if no buyer is found within 60 days. That will allow it to terminate a JOA with the Seattle Times, which will remain as the city’s lone daily.
Hearst left open the possibility that some sort of web-only local news operation may continue if no buyer is found for the newspaper. “One thing is clear: At the end of the sale process, we do not see ourselves publishing in print,” Hearst newspaper division President Steven Swartz told P-I employees on Friday, according to the newspaper’s own story of its impending demise.
“Since 2000, the P-I has lost money each year, and the losses have escalated and continue to escalate in 2009. We have had to make a very tough decision,” Swartz said. The loss for 2008 was put at $14 million.
Broadwater & Associates of New York has been retained by Hearst to try to find a buyer for the P-I.
RBR/TVBR observation: No one would be more surprised than Hearst Corp. officials if someone actually steps up as an interested bidder. With monopoly dailies facing tough sledding in most markets, it’s virtually impossible to come up with a workable business plan for a second daily newspaper anywhere. The deadline is nearing for Scripps to close up the Rocky Mountain News and leave the Mile High City to the Denver Post. Meanwhile, the San Diego Union-Tribune has been on the market for nearly six months now – and it doesn’t have a competing daily to deal with.