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p-iTraditional media is dying in front of our very eyes.

The 146 year-old “Seattle Post-Intelligencer” (P-I) goes full Web tomorrow and becomes the largest northwest daily newspaper to go entirely digital.  Although it’s a shadow of the old printed paper it will now focus more on local news, with a much smaller staff.  And just last week, the Washington Post announced it was folding its stand-alone Business section, commercial news will now be featured in the main, first section.  Other papers like the Rocky Mountain News (now defunct), The Boston Globe, the L.A. Times and The NY Times are all having major economic problems.  Be it regular people wanting just the news or writing slants/styles that people want no part of – the news papers are going down.

This is unfortunate.  I believe the P-I did a good job and accurately reported on the Iron Pigs Sturgis shooting.   But,  let’s say you’re a major American motorcycle manufacture executive looking to hire a marketing wizard to get your news story in the paper, you might as well be paying for billboards on the space shuttle.  Your target audience isn’t going to see the story!

The “P-I” lost $14M last year on a 118K print circulation.  The web traffic is about 1.8M unique visitors a month.  It’s interesting to read about the writers and publishers as they scramble and complain that newspapers must not die and that people must pay and if not the public, then the government.  Sort of a “bail-out” rally cry for publishers. 

I agree that journalism must survive, not necessarily newspapers.  There’s often more meat, more truth in blogs who explain events than there’s been in a lot of the mainstream press.  Maybe because bloggers are at the center, they truly understand.  They are not only reporting, but they are LIVING the story as well!

While I feel sad for the 145 employees this turn of events will give the P-I opportunity to work on new ways of connecting readers, fans and pundits and maybe even develop a thriving new businesses along the way.

Photo courtesy Joshua Trujillo/Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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