"Please join me in the newsroom for a few minutes for an announcement."


The real joke is that the Obama candidacy was propped up, as SLOG noted, by a coalition of urban types and big city newspapers. Now urban real estate is crumbling and the papers are folding! Unfortunately we're left with the result of their last ditch effort to seem relevant.
If the Stranger is in good finincial shape, it should try to pick up a few PI staffers. There are some good poeple there who know the local beat extremely well.

By the way, the NYT magazine has a interesting article on Mars Hill today. You should post about it.
Very well written. Sad as hell, but very well written.
People came back inside bearing inexpensive scotch and whiskey and a case of Rainier.

Rainier Beer at the Seattle PI's wake. How apropos. Goodbye, old Seattle.


Among the ambivalent, a newsman with a long memory, who wrote to me: "Remember when the P-I was so sure that they had won the newspaper war that they came and pissed on the Times lawn?"

Ah, that's the newspaper industry I'll miss. Seriously.
Did anyone else listen to Your Take On The News this Friday on KUOW?

Lynne Varner from the Times and Dave Horsey from the P-I were both on, and Varner did everything short of breaking into song about how great a thing this was, how happy she was to be on the "winning" side, etc.

I've always hated Varner with a passion - so much so that I had to go look up who she was when I heard her talk because, well, WHO IS THIS IDIOT? - but it was rude and tone deaf even for her.

She set a new low bar for professionalism.

Horsey was diplomatic about it of course. Not much you can do when you're on "the losing end" and will probably have to work for the bitch in 60 days anyway.
"the Obama candidacy was propped up, as SLOG noted, by a coalition of urban types and big city newspapers"


BIG ISLAM obviously is behind this failing of a business model, you inbred hick.
Thank you very much for this wonderful reporting on a shitty, shitty milestone. My late parents would only allow the P-I in the house, because locally it had much more forward-thinking editorial stances. This is so sad.
What @3 said. This is a great, great Slog post.
Great report, Eli. Thanks. This is a sad day for print journalism in the Northwest.

Good suggestion in the comments that the Stranger beef up its local news reporting. You guys may be the only game in town in a couple of years. I don't think the P-I's demise is going to make the Blethens profitable again.
seems like there's a gap forming that the stranger could (should?) fill.

cuz i ain't giving blethen another dime.
Exemplary post. Thanks.
Thanks, Eli, for a fine piece. You captured the mood well. I work at the P-I and can tell you it is a great place with outstanding people. It's passing will leave a huge hole in my heart.
Sorry for your loss, Seattle. The PI and The Stranger (natch) are the only papers I would pick up when in your town.
Fucking heartbreaking.
Great overview and summary of a hugely important shift in our . . . well, something I can't quite sum up in a word. If there's only a limited independent press to shed light on business trends/shennanigans, government lapses, and the very best of upcoming local arts and great stuff, I'm kinda scared. The Stranger is a great resource, and I hope the finances are good so you can press ahead.
Nicely done, Eli.
Great reporting, Eli. V. Sad.
Will there be a paradigm shift at The Stranger?

Rags, entertainment or tabloid, have often been in a position to move into a "record of source" position based upon the economic failing of others. One door closes and another opens. And they have remained true to the entertainment/tabloid roots that got them there in the first place.

Will The Stranger, come later this year, tap the experience and talent of those investigative reporters wanting to stay in this market at any price, as a freelancer or staff? Those hard hitting reporters who want to drop Stranger-style f-bombs or two to make a point, but with the street-cred of style it takes to be recognized by media peers? Hire or purchase the subtleties of fact based vs. editorial based reporting?

The Stranger has been crowing and blowing its own horn about how it is not a "family paper", proud as to how it provides a wider and deeper perspective into the community then what MSM can, that the MSM by its very business structure can only ever appeal to the lowest-common-denominator through its reporting style . Will The Stranger step up and shift to a newsroom which provides credible coverage time and time again? Will it expand its local (and regional) (or dare to say it, national) reporting standards? Will its operating model be added to?

Or are the publishers, and through extension it's senior editors, going to adopt a "too bad, so sad" here's another issue of puff pieces and the once in a blue-moon "see, we ARE a news organization, SEE!! SEE!!!" top-notch investigative story? Will The Stranger mature as a business, or remain merely a rag based on news-worthy opinions of others? Remain at its core an entertaining rag?

Seattle can still be a major two newspaper town, with two newsrooms of source.

Time will tell, I suppose.

I was wondering- did the JOAs prolong the lifespan of newspapers or hasten their demise?
very nicely and movingly reported. i assume this will end up in print next week?
tough luck. the big, bad secret nobody wants to discuss, however, is that the times has a far better website. easier to navigate, better access to breaking stories, and better games. better website eventually means more subscribers. simply not enough money around to support 2 newspapers that very few people actually pay for, daily.

Resume the love-fest.
The Times had a better website? In what alternate universe?

Maybe the games are better, I don't know. But I have never, ever gone to a newspaper website for the games.

The P-I's articles tend to be posted more often, are easily accessible, the commenting function is popular and easy to find and use (unfortunately, this means the Sound-Offs are often full of idiots, but sometimes they can be great), they have neighborhood-specific sections... It's easier to use and to find things throughout the site, whereas the Times site is more opaque and frustrating.
Nice work Eli. You captured it. It felt kinda rebellious last night walking around the office with a glass of scotch. Grab a copy of today's P-I and see how many errors you can find. By the way, we welcomed peeing on our building last night but if the urinator were to have been captured he would have been beaten silly by a bunch of drunk newsroom nerds.
But, like, who needs newspapers when, you know, you can like get all your news off the Internet?
Yeah, whoever thinks seattletimes.com is better than seattlepi.com is seriously smokin' the crack. P-I's website has had a better UI for at least the last few years. Hopefully the Times will take some cues from it.
If they're gonna let the thing die in 60 days anyway, The Stranger could snipe with a lowball bid and own it.
@24 I was actually surprised to receive a P-I this morning, let alone one that resembled a regular newspaper. You guys are true professionals.
Fucking hoopleheaded Hearst cocksuckers.
Thank you, #29.
One of the best pieces I've read in The Stranger--well-written AND well-reported. Keep it up.
So, is Slog hiring?
Excellent work, Eli.
Well I guess this puts a new twist on the Jen Graves/Emily White/Sheila Farr commentary on "Will the Last Art Critic Leaving Seattle Please Turn Out the Lights".
Its the bottom line, ultimately.
Regina Hackett is a community treasure and I hope she rides this out somehow.
Thanks for this report, Eli.

The Slog is daily reading for me, but this is my first comment post. I think you accurately captured things from the P-I side, and it was fascinating to read what happened across town at the Times.

Boardman's e-mail to our newsroom chokes me up every time. And your post made me cry a couple of times.

One of my early assignments after I began writing for the P-I in 2006 was to cover the King County Journal closing. I lingered outside in the parking lot, interviewing the laid off employees.

Two years later, I'm writing about the demise of my own paper and interviewing the folks I've grown to love.

I don't think that Hearst purposely leaked the news to King 5. That makes no sense. We were all wrapping up our stories for Thursday, a lot of them about the flooding and the closed roads.

Next thing, King 5 is reporting that the P-I might close. We're all like, "Is this some sick joke?" Then we look to our editors and bosses and they're just as stumped. WTF indeed.

Thanks for your report.

Andrea James
P-I reporter

Gawd they reported Monica Guzman crying at her desk. It makes that nasty snark in the regrets issue all the more mean.
I knew this was srs bsns when I saw it on DrudgeReport, in RED, upper left column

Why doesn't Nike or some other huge company buy it and run it into the ground for a while as a direct advertisement rather than a cloaked one?

I mean, that's all journalism has amounted to in the past few years...changing words here and there on press releases (both from the Bush administration and from corporations) and plugging holes with them.


Take a victory lap Erica, you must be so proud!

P-I 4-eva bitches!

Seriously, I've been a P-I person my whole life-- my parents never brought home the Times. There are some great reporters there and if the Stranger is at all able to, pick some of them up. Please.
The Blethlens are fucking fascists. The four horsemen of the apocalypse are galloping down Boren.

Fucking hell.
So you realize that this means in 60 days The Stranger could be considered the 2nd most widely read newspaper in Western Washington?
corporations whose motivations and financial situations can't always be known, and whose actions can't easily be predicted

The bolded evil-corporation diatribe might fit if the PI didn't lose $14MM in 2008 and have a 6+ year streak in the red. Anyone who didn't expect either the PI or Times to give up has been living in a cave.
One of the bests posts I've ever read on Slog. Thanks.
Eli - you might win a pulitzer for this post. Better than anything I have read in either daily for years.
@42: I've got to think it'd be the News Tribune.
I can't help but break down the facts a little here and notice easily how the leveraged players rule, no matter how incompetent. How could a business that's worth practically zero - (no presses, no advertising dept. no nuthin')as it's pointed out here, be worthy of $14 million a year in cash flow total, let alone post that as a loss?

Stopping the newsroom's paychecks will kill this paper's only assets, but it certainly isn't going to save Hearst $14 million. Hearst had obviously strapped an immovable load of crap to these people's backs, now they'll cast them off and bounce above the surface momentarily to gorge themselves on more arbitrage spoils and dump more crap somewhere else.
The loss of the PI is a part of the last days of unfettered capitalism. Hearst has no ethos but values profit, pure and simple. When, in a day gone by, newspapers stood for something else, a yellow dog crusade against the "traction trust" from Citizen Kane, or the dubious salt or not to salt of recent days, newspapers echoed our manufactured concerns and losing the PI is like losing part of ourselves. I am sad for the loss of the last active Visual Art Critic at a Seattle Daily and Dean of the Art Press Corps, [Regina Hackett] and I am resigned to the fact that the Visual Arts in Seattle will have to play a lesser role. This is devistating.
Not only is the P-I's website vastly better - and more importantly, the way in which they use it, the immediacy with which they deploy it - but they also show more respect for their readers. Remember, the Times didn't even allow comments until late last year, which is absolute head-in-sand (or elsewhere) insanity.
This is a blow close to home - I interned at the PI. The reporters there took me under their wings and taught me to be a better writer.
The news is heart breaking. What is happening to journalism? Everyone should go out and buy a newspaper... or find a way to make newspapers more profitable. The newspaper I report for is entirely dependent on ads, which is hard to do in a recession!
Thank you Eli for your very well-written post. You managed to transform a local story (which I tend usually tend to scroll past) into a prose with universal appeal. More like this please!
As I think about this, I realize that while I would probably never *buy* a home-delivery subscription to a local paper like the P-I -- who wants all that nasty paper cluttering the house, I've got a laptop already! -- I might actually be convinced to *donate* to one, in a $20 or $30 a year increment that is actually a meaningful percent of what I've seen subscriptions sold for. If the frame offered is "do you want to purchase this product", then my answer with regard to dead-tree newsprint is "hell no" -- it's not a terribly wise use of my money, if I'm just being asked to consider my own needs. But if the frame offered were "do you want to support this venture for the greater good of yourself and others" then yeah, there's a realistic chance I'd do that.

I wonder if there's any way forward there. I'm going to guess that it's impossible to charter as both a business and a non-profit simultaneously. Yet newspapers like the P-I clearly are both businesses, and producers of a greater social good. I'm sure I'm not the only person who doesn't want a newspaper at his house but does want one in his town. This problem will have to be solved eventually, but unfortunately the answer will come too late for the people who work at the P-I.
"the Stranger beef up its local news reporting."

Yes, the Stranger covering local city council meetings! I can hear the opening graph now:

"Shit, I can't believe my editors sent me to cover these shitbags again. Fuck, I'm gonna miss out on the midget tossing up on the Hill, and have to sit for 4 hours listening to that squirmy asshole Licata talk about affordable fucking housing.....What's a rock 'n roll queer like myself gonna do?."
Hey, it was good scotch.
You're clearly not a reader, Ballard Man. The Stranger has been covering city council meetings for, oh, a decade or more.

Thank you for playing Slog.
Why does anyone think the Stranger is going to somehow be immune to the problems facing print publications, whether they're daily or weekly newspapers or magazines? Escort and phone sex ads are all online now, as are club listings and all of the Stranger content.

The Stranger has survived by maintaining a small, underpaid staff with crappy benefits, and can probably continue for some time. But suggesting it can somehow hire the cream of the P-I crop, or become a daily newspaper, is delusional.

I'm sure Stranger leadership would tell you the same thing.
@47: Wait, wait. Not that I want to defend the decision to shut down the paper, because it's horribly sad (and terrifying -- I work at a newspaper myself), but ... $14 million doesn't buy that much.

Divide by $45k, for example, and you get about 311 very average paychecks and there's none left over for expenses. No building rent, no electric bill, no server hosting, no pens. No money for the pressmen and advertising staffers they're borrowing from the Times, either.

I'm not sure how big the PI newsroom and staff are or how much they get paid. But saving $14 million on salary alone sounds, sickeningly, within reason.
wonderful post - thank you.
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. With the JOA in place and the presses and ad dept. in The Times' possession, combined with more than half a decade of fiscal bleeding, it was only a matter of time before Hearst pounded the final nail in the coffin.

So long, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, you had a great run, but the only question to be resolved now it seems is where MOHAI is going to put that big, beautiful neon globe.
"THERE'S SOMETHING I wanna say to five of Seattle's nine city council members: Fuck you people. Fuck you, Richard McIver, and you too, Heidi Wills. Fuck you, Jan Drago. Fuck you, Jim Compton. And fuck you, City Council President Margaret Pageler. And I'd like to say the same to you, Mayor McOneTermWonder: Fuck you, Paul "Protest-Free Zone" Schell. There isn't a city in this country being run by a bigger collection of log-stupid assholes."

Wow, Dan, guess my satire wasn't far off the mark. No wonder the Stranger's not been shortlisted for any Pulitzers. When you hire those old 'hacks' over from the PI, better let them know that the best journalists use the F-bomb at least once in the opening graph.
LOL Dan Savage via 60:

at the very least, the Stranger should seize this opportunity to hire Dorothy Parvaz. I don't know why she wasn't working there to begin with.
But I'm not the city hall reporter, children. So my ten-year-old piece about the Monorail doesn't really count as an example of the kind of city hall coverage we would do, if we did it. (Which we do, and it doesn't all sound like a once-in-a-decade rant by yers trooly.)

And I love the "F" word, as you all know. In fact, I think the "F" word, and the "F" word alone, can save print journalism.

Thank you for playing Slog.
"F" word alone, can save print journalism."

Well it's certainly easier and cheaper than actually going out and doing reporting, but better?
dan, remember, you can never run away from 'The Google'.
To all those congratulating Eli on his piece, and even saying it deserves a Pulitzer:

It was a fine story, but I think the reason Sloggers were so overwhelmed by it was that it did something unusual for a staff-posted Slog:

Eli actually went out and did interviews and placed how the people he wrote about first, instead of his opinions.

What he did was what reporters are supposed to do, as opposed to linking to a newspaper story that somebody else researched and then making snarky comments.

If you looked through the back issues of both The Times and The P-I for the past year, you'd see plenty more such stories, on plenty more subjects.

So perhaps this might be something for The Stranger's editors to consider.

That is, tell the staffers they can link away to the mainstream media stories, and post away with snarky comments.

But that, also, half of the time, they cannot post something unless they have left the office, done some interviews, made phone calls for independent research.

And that, after that, they let the people they're writing about tell their stories in their own words and actions.

It's kinda of a rad idea for The Stranger, I know, but look at the reaction that such a story by Eli got.

The Stranger’s audience is now set to expand… the ball has been set, and the question is, will The Stranger spike it or let it fall? Will it stay in the comfort zone, or expand the content quality to capture revenue generating eyeballs?

It will not, and could not, expanded into the aging boomer market, nor into an fuddy-duddy audience offended by the occasional use of FUCK as an exclamatory point maker. But into the educated, open minded, but aging 25-35 year old demographic.

It is a market fact that consumer preferences change as folk’s age and that audience/consumers could be lost if their market needs and demands are not met.

The Stranger’s audience is 78% single, 79% straight, are Gen-x’s, is read by 2% more men than women. Over half the audience graduated college, ¾ of its audience votes. And ¾ of the audience owns pets (an aside: why did you pay for that stat, stranger?)

Contrast this to the PI (JOA combined stats)… it’s not known if the readers are married or single, straight or gay. But more of them are college educated than not. Close to 3 times the number of its readers owns a home than rent. More than half of its readers have a household income greater that $75k. The PI is read by more people between the ages of 45 and death. 6% more men than women read the PI.

The Stranger knows that nearly 700,000 unique individuals read it online and 400,000 will grab a copy of the paper. The PI reaches 1.4 million readers weekly, with 1 million grabbing the physical paper 5 days a week.

These numbers exist for one reason, to generate revenue from advertisements. Subscription revenue for each is not a reportable figure. I would guess at The Stranger the subscription revenue is slightly above nil and the PI it's too embarrassing to put next to the 1.9 million possible readers.

What makes money? An interest in the content of the written word gets folks' eyeballs, but that interest alone will not keep the paper (news org) open. Neither would all the Pulitzer winners with all the best prose that ever existed, if advertisers and by extention consumers, found it to be of no value. I doubt The Stranger could afford the cream of the PI crop of reporters (the ugly truth is, in the long haul, neither could Hearst or the PI). But, there is talent that wants to write, that want the freedom to be wordsmiths, that want to work in this market but need somesort of income.

If it were my wish list, I would go with sports (weekly stats and some of those great first person Stranger interviews with sounder & storm players. Those string players that are often overlooked by other organizations, but who want their name in print) (and not too mention, adult league soccer). What does what it take to get another syndicated column or two? talent would be a start, then longterm audience appeal.

Oh, while its on the table, how about a column targeted at that pet audience? That’s an awful big number of eyeballs that is going to waste, isn’t it?

Sad story.

Sad whenever anyone loses a job. Sadder when a company goes down. Sadder still when it's part of an industry going down.

And I find myself saying, "yeah but ... "

It's great having two major newspapers in town. Good for the city. The papers keep each other on their toes. We'll likely see the quality of local reporting go down (further than it's already fallen with the many layoffs, etc).

But ... the two web sites really aren't very different from each other. The newsrooms aren't that different. The staffs aren't very different. I've worked both places (as many people have) and read both for years and years.

Having two papers is a luxury the market simply doesn't support. Things have shifted. It has happened in other industries. It the way of our economy and society.

Should we bail out this industry? You could probably make more of an argument for this industry than a lot of others. Contributions to civil discourse and engagement are immense.

But ... that's not the way our economy works (or should anyway, in my opinion, acknowledging the bailouts of the financial and auto sectors).

Which brings me to my final point. I honestly feel bad for the folks at the P-I (as I said, I hate to see anyone lose their job, company go down, industry, etc).

But ... these folks stayed with the P-I, which was fighting mightily to outspend and outlast the Times so that this very thing would happen -- except with the roles reversed. So while many, many other folks left the P-I for other papers or other industries, these folks took a gamble and stayed and fought. And now they have lost.

I respect that. And I'm saddened by this latest downturn in a lethal spiral.

To me, it's sad.

But ... not tragic.
" an fuddy-duddy audience offended by the occasional use of FUCK as an exclamatory point maker"

Hey, I'm a product of English public boys school, f-bombs came 5-pence a dozen and were used with far more panache in the halls of my House that any Stranger writer could imagine. I only have a problem with the f-bomb when you read through a copy of the Stranger or Seattle Weekly and realize there's little more to it than that: f-bombs used to cover lousy writing with no reporting. But I guess some readers like it because angers their bourgeois parents.
another reason why The Stanger rocks and rules? It's blog comments allows for an obscene word count.
So, the UW Daily right now has one of the most mediocre editorial staffs in its recent history, and there's lots of great writers and reporters at the P-I who will probably need jobs in 60 days? No-brainer!

Only half-joking, folks. And I second the motion that The Stranger should hire D. Parvaz, and Cathy Sorbo too.
blah blah blah......ss dd.....
Quote from a P-I staffer in TFA: "More importantly, by mid-day..."
It no longer surprises me that few writers write well (yes, I realize the staffer may not be a writer).
Thank you. From a soon-to-join-the-welfare-ranks P-I staffer.
Thank you for playing Google.
Thanks to the fact that several generations have grown up watching television screens from the time they were able to crawl, and then stuck with television for most information, occasionally pausing to look for what in the journalistic trade is still called "features," on the Internet, the notion of buying a printed newspaper to be entertained or informed, atrophied in America. In some places such as India, newspaper readership is up, although it is in the guise of people generally seeking hard news or business-oriented features.

The main reason to get a newspaper was to see what movies were playing, or what bands or where to go eat, or in the case of The Stranger, where to go get drunk; and with ads for call girls in the back of some publications - The Stranger and Seattle Weekly - how to get serviced sexually.

The American public school system surely didn't help matters, as it essentially ceased to teach reading, writing and what was once called simply "arithmetic" to so many students. It became a race to the bottom, educationally.

When Craig Newmark, creator of Craig's List (sic) came along, and took most of the classified advertising that had been the cash cow for daily papers, the fix was in.

The empty suits at the Hearst Corporation were just along for the ride, like anyone else. They didn't create the death of daily papers, just tried to make money on them, while they could. After all, it is that not the American way?
Correction: last sentence of my earlier post should read: After all, is that not the American way?

This is why copy editors used to hover over copy, wearing green eye shades.
So, its everyone else's fault but the papers themselves.

To 77:

Newmark, that evil fellow, for figuring out his email list of web sites he thought were good was such an industry killer in 1994 - 1995.

TV! yes, and radio before it.

Those schools. Taught by the same union members most in the newspaper business eagerly support. So how many educators now will be hiring ex PI staffers for substitute teacher gigs?

And most of all those evil corporate suits that want to make a profit but had no idea how once you took away the "little nickel" and sex ads function of the daily paper.

See, every argument made is just not a credible one. Evolution is not very fun if you're a dinosaur. But it is evolution none the less.
I had a journalism instructor at Seattle U who in 1992 scoffed at the idea of computers taking the place of newspapers. She was also an ex PI writer, one who'd won some awards. That ought to narrow it down to just a handful to anyone with a sense of history. Anyway, her words I remember to this day, allow me the luxury of the imperfect quote:

"Computers will never replace newspaper until I can buy a copy for a quarter then leave it on the bus when I'm done with it."

Well, you can't quite do that yet. But you can read the news on the bus, and have been able to for a few years now. And everything from ebay to craigslist to the Stranger cannibalized the classified -- but where was the Times and PI when this was happening? Scoffing at those scummy fringe medias probably.

I will miss Editorial Layout and I will miss Editorial Judgement. I'll sometimes miss an omniscient reporter / editor setting the agenda for an entire readership. But over all isn't it better right now for the reader with literally thousands of sources -- most of them interactive -- than it was in the Good Old Days when one only could buy a paper and leave it on the bus when they were finished?
Agreed SKB, too many reporters somehow still believe in the history of journalism ideal of a benevolent publisher with journalistic integrity. Good Grief. The future is bright for journalism. More people consume more news now than ever before and the demand is insatiable. Reporters have valuable skills and they'll find something to do. But there is no value in newspapers delivered by oil-guzzling trucks, and there is no value in the dead tree "publishing" business. Which really seems fine.
This was a fantastic piece. I think it needs to be put in a vault somewhere at the Newseum, along with the hd video of the Hearst Suit twisting the knife into the guts of one hell of a dedicated and talented staff.

In 50 years, it should be pulled out and read again. I am hoping by then we will wonder how we put up with the corporate greed. When the rest of the story comes out on this deal, I hope the Stranger will do another fantastic job of bringing us what actually went down in the private jets and closed rooms.
@67 nailed it. This is the kind of original-research story that isn't the main point of Slog, but IS the point of newspapers. As MSM outlets decline, will blogs really take on that civic role? I hope so.
It is so ironic to hear Slog readers go on and on about this piece as if they've never read anything so wonderful before. Writing exactly like this (and sometimes better) appears day after day in the Seattle Times and PI and countless other metro dailies around the nation (wasn't Eli's previous job at the Times?) and if Slog readers read it in one of those outlets, they would dismiss it as hack journalism, sentimental, over-written garbage.
@84, are you sure you didn't want to use Jealousy as your name instead of Irony? if Slog sucks, stop reading it!
Sorry,@85, I don't see jealousy in @84. I think he/she is for the most part right.

And a bonus is of trading up from Slog to a newspaper site is the absence (mostly) of random bolding. (That crap insults my intelligence, as if I can't figure out the important parts of a story on my own.)
oh goodie, the wake has turned into a hair-of-the-dog bender. It's now monday. what happens on the weekend should stay on the weekend. sigh.
just for the record, boardman wasn't running for blethen's office. frank was headed to boardman's. frank was about to talk, um frankly, with a reporter when boardman stopped him and reminded him that he was on the record.
I've always preferred the P-I, ever since I moved to the PNW in '75. It always had better coverage of grisly murders, more feisty coverage of Olympia nonsense, and did a better overall job of muckraking than the Seattle Boeing-Times.

But reading some of these SLOG comments, I'm thinking that many posters are unaware or simply ignoring the fact that the quality of the P-I has been sliding for at least the past decade. Like most dailies in the US, it's been between the rock and hard place of wanting to be a real newspaper with hard news but knowing that it had to do something else to get people who love television to buy a copy. Thus, the fluff content of the P-I is enormous these days: food, fashion, sports, auto, real estate, and of course, TV--all of those sections take precedence over hard news. The staff was still capable of doing excellent work on multi-part, well-researched analytical stories on a wide range of issues, but the frequency of such stories appearing on its pages has been declining for a long time.

There was a period in the early 1980s when the P-I regularly published an 8-12 page Sunday section of extended hard news pieces and meaty features. Freelancers were able to submit stories and get published, but the union wanted that money for its own members and stopped that practice. I view that as the best period for the P-I; it regularly ran stories that required some commitment to read.

Compare that with the last decade: lots of headlines above the fold on TV--celebs, shows, gossip. Lots of gigantic front page photos taking up space that used to contain words. Sports sports sports. On pages 2-3, reviews of world events in 2 paragraphs or less. Frustrating for long-time newspaper addicts like myself, but a reflection of online realities.

I wish it could be different, but I think bemoaning the loss of a major daily that was drowning in fluff is a waste of breath or typing. I do hope that some of the real reporters can land jobs where they can act like the watchdogs they're supposed to be, but where are those places?

It's sad and terribly tragic however slamming Seattle's remaining daily, The Seattle Times, is nothing short of idiotic. On their worst days for 100 years and more, both newspapers have been among the very best in the country.