Will Seattle Times follow P-I into the sunset?

by Associated Press

As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer moves toward printing its last edition, it remains unclear whether its bigger rival, The Seattle Times, is far behind -- and whether the famously literate city soon could find itself without a major daily newspaper.

The Times is heavily in debt and struggling to cut expenses, like many other newspapers across the country. But the Times is different from many large newspapers because it is controlled by the Seattle-area Blethen family and doesn't have deep corporate pockets from which to draw.

"The Seattle P-I may be going out of business, but the Times is an equally troubled company, and possibly even more troubled," said Alan Mutter, a former newspaper editor and Silicon Valley chief executive who writes the Reflections of a Newsosaur blog.

Publisher Frank Blethen acknowledged the struggles last month as he appealed to state legislators for a tax break for newspapers.

"Some of us, like The Seattle Times, are literally holding on by our fingertips," Blethen said.

Blethen declined an interview request made through newspaper spokeswoman Jill Mackie.

"There's a future for The Seattle Times as long as we can hang on through this very deep recession," Mackie said. "Are we certain we're going to get through this time? I think Frank would say we're not certain."

The P-I's owner, Hearst Corp., plans to announce a decision next week on whether to turn the newspaper into an online-only publication with a reduced news staff.

article originally published at http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=....

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