One of the positive aspects of the internet that I have enjoyed is being able to read newspapers outside the D.C. metro area. One of the news sites I’ve enjoyed in the past few years is the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Seattle P-I) based in Seattle, WA. As of Tuesday (yesterday) the 146 year old Seattle P-I is now web only.
By CAROL SMITH
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the region’s pioneer newspaper and the city’s oldest continually operating business, a newspaper that both shaped and was shaped by the community it covered, prints its last edition Tuesday — nearly a century and a half after its forebear first rolled off a hand-cranked Ramage press promising to be “the best and cheapest promulgator of all sorts of useful information.”
The print P-I was irreverent and unpredictable, a long-shot survivor from the start. It persisted through 11 moves, and more than 17 owners. It didn’t miss an edition when its building burned to the ground along with its press in the Great Seattle Fire of 1889. It outlived some 20 scrappy competitors before the turn of the 20th century, an era described by Clarence Bagley, one of its 19th century owners, as a time when newspapers “lived hard and died easy.”
But it couldn’t endure the firestorm of the Internet. And in the end, it wouldn’t outlast its long headlock with The Seattle Times.
Writing obituaries is a rite of passage for journalists — a first beat for cub reporters, and often the last for those who’ve been around long enough to have covered, or been friends or enemies with, those whose passings they note.
Eventually, a gut-punch of an obit comes along. Now it’s our turn.
The news of the end, when it finally came, was swift and surgical. Cause of death — a fatal economic spiral compounded by dwindling subscription rates, an exodus of advertisers and an explosion of online information. News will live on. This newspaper will not. Suddenly, the obituarist’s cliché seems apropos: We went down doing what we loved.
We were, each of us, engaged in an enterprise much larger than ourselves.Many of Seattle’s city founders once worked for or were associated with the P-I. Their names are familiar now from streets and buildings: Henry Yesler, Edmond Meany, B.L. Northrup, Royal Brougham.
A host of Seattle institutions — the Seattle Public Library, Volunteer Park and the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge — are here today in large part because the P-I envisioned and fought for them.
The Seattle Times remains the only mainstream daily newspaper in Seattle.
You can read the entire article here.