Hearst will stop printing P-I if no buyer found in 60 days

by Gene Johnson, Associated Press

Hearst Corp. put Seattle's oldest newspaper, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, up for sale Friday, saying that if it can't find a buyer in the next 60 days, the paper will close or continue to exist only on the Internet.

"These options include a move to a digital only operation with a greatly reduced staff, or a complete shutdown of all operations," Hearst, the P-I's parent company, said in a statement. "In no case will Hearst continue to publish the P-I in printed form following the conclusion of this process."

Hearst Newspaper Division President Steve Swartz broke the news in a meeting with newspaper employees.

The statement said Hearst is not considering buying The Seattle Times, the city's other daily paper. Hearst has owned the P-I since 1921, and the paper has had operating losses since 2000, including $14 million last year.

The mood in the newsroom was grim. Some staff members cried, others were angry.

"People are kind of depressed. There's some crying," said Candace Heckman, P-I breaking news editor who has worked at the paper since 2000.

Heckman told The Associated Press that Swartz was peppered with many questions by staffers but declined to say more.

"Our journalists continue to do a spectacular job of serving the people of Seattle, which has been our great privilege for he past 88 years," Swartz said in a written statement. "But our losses have reached an unacceptable level, so with great regret we are seeking a new owner for the P-I.

Chris Grygiel, an assistant city editor, said neither Swartz nor P-I executives took questions at the meeting.

"People are just pretty shocked and amazed," said Grygiel who has been at the paper for eight years.

article originally published at http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jVkogjJ7a0MX5cnplEpWydm1KOvQD9....

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey