SEATTLE - The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which has chronicled the news of the city since logs slid down its steep streets to the harbor and miners caroused in its bars before heading north to Alaska’s gold fields, will print its final edition Tuesday.
Hearst’s move to end the print edition leaves the P-I’s larger rival, The Seattle Times, as the only mainstream daily in the city.
Hearst Corporation, which owns the 146-year-old P-I, said Monday that it failed to find a buyer for the newspaper, which it put up for a 60-day sale in January after years of losing money. Now the P-I will shift entirely to the Web.
“Tonight will be the final run, so let’s do it right,” publisher Roger Oglesby told the newsroom.
Hearst’s decision to abandon the print product in favor of an Internet-only version is the first for a large American newspaper, raising questions about whether the company can make money in a medium where others have come up short.
David Lonay, 80, a subscriber since 1950, said he’ll miss a morning ritual that can’t be replaced by a Web-only version.
“The first thing I do every day is get the P-I and read it,” Lonay said. “I really feel like an old friend is dying.”
“It’s a really sad day for Seattle,” said P-I reporter Angela Galloway. “The P-I has its strengths and weaknesses but it always strove for a noble cause, which was to give voice to those without power and scrutiny of those with power.”
Seattle follows Denver in losing a daily newspaper this year. The Rocky Mountain News closed after its owner, E.W. Scripps Company couldn’t find a buyer. In Arizona, Gannett Co.’s Tucson Citizen is set to close Saturday, leaving one newspaper in that city.
And last month Hearst said it would close or sell the San Francisco Chronicle if the newspaper couldn’t slash expenses in coming weeks.
The newspaper industry has seen ad revenue fall in recent years as advertisers migrate to the Internet, particularly to sites offering free or low-cost alternatives for classified ads. Starting last summer, the recession intensified the decline in advertising revenue in all categories.
While the P-I’s Web site ensures it a continued presence in the Seattle news market, it will likely be a pared-down version of its former self — with a heavy reliance on blogs and links to other news outlets.