Monday, May 11, 2009


Well, it's been about two month since the Seattle Post-Intelligencer closed, the second daily newspapers in Seattle. That left the Seattle Times and the Tacoma News Tribune (TNT). The Seattle PI went to an free on-line format, which is interesting but nothing out of the ordinary except for its coverage of local issues and sports. The real question is what the loss of the print edition of the PI has done for the other papers and readers.

For me, I don't read the TNT except the Sunday edition. It's a good paper but when you continually find most of the paper is comprised of ads and the number of pages in the daily and now Sunday edition is down, it's hard to find good reasons to pay the price beyond the Sunday edition.

The Seattle Times is another matter. I used to buy the PI 3-4 days a week along with the other three papers I still buy. I found the two papers very close in their coverage of the news, only differing in the importance of the story for placement, the slant of their editorials, and their investigative reports. I preferred the PI because it's the Democrat of the papers, with the Times being the Republican paper.

I've read that the circulation of the Times has increased 33-50% since the demise of the print edition of the PI, meaning 50-67% of PI readers switched to the Times. In short, people want print, and while they may disagree with the Time's editorial stance and view, they'll read it for the news. I haven't heard the TNT has changed much since it long focused on the south Puget Sound area, from Federal Way to Olympia.

So, do I buy the Times now? I still buy the Sunday edition since it was a combined PI-Times edition and is now just the Times. I miss some of the PI's work in the Sunday edition, which has gotten smaller with the same amount of ads. It's always funny to see the stack of ads from the TNT and Times to be 3-4 times thicker than the actual papers. I now buy Times 1-2 times per week replacing the PI, but less so for what I missed with the PI. It had some unique features I valued.

I don't visit the on-line PI, because as I've written, it's mostly a recompilation of other news sources with their own smaller, local news and sports reporting. They've also dropped some of their unique print edition features. I know it's a matter of economics, especially surviving in the greater media and newspaper corporation which owns the PI, but losing some of your bread and butter isn't smart.

Overall, I find the PI Website cluttered and ordinary. It looks the same as many others, trying to squeeze as much as they can into a small Web footprint with links to the various sections and subjects which are also extensive compilations squeezed into a small footprint. It seems you get tired just scanning for what's there, let alone looking for something specific. Their Website wears your eyes out.

What's lost and dying fast is the simple act of reading a newspaper. It's why I buy them 4-5 days a week. I love sitting down with an early lunch and simply going through each one page by page. I don't read everything, but I'll read every headline and often part of the story. I even look at all the ads and other stuff on the pages. The print edition focuses you on the news of that page.

I also read 2-4 on-line papers the other days and the Washington Post most days (it's not available local in print form, which I would buy if it were, and yeah I could subscribe but it wouldn't be there with the other papers at the same time). I've become accustomed to their Website format and know what and where to look for sections and stories. But I find I spend less time reading passing stories I would read in print. I'm working on that to scan more articles, but it's the not same when it's already there in front of you.

And yes, I know it's the nature of the Internet and Web, about visual and content presentation. I just haven't full adapted and adjusted to news Websites yet. I will, and am learning to scan, read and print the more interesting stories, but it's also why the PI Website isn't worth the time unless it for specific issues or stories. The rest of the news there is easily available elsewhere.

Sorry PI, it's the reality of the world and news today. I'm sure you can trace your troubles back two decades and maybe more for answer where everything went wrong. That's dust now on the print presses you're not using, but surviving now will take foresight, not being common and repitative in the news world, something you seem to be lacking to date.

So, that's where I see newspapers are at these day. They will change and I will change. It's the nature and news of the world today.

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