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Seattle's oldest newspaper may go online-only

Plans seem to be advancing for Seattle Post-Intelligencer (P-I), the longest-publishing newspaper in the northwest US city, to stop publishing in printed form and go all-digital, local media reported yesterday.

According to a report posted on the P-I website, several reporters said they had received "provisional offers" from Hearst Corp., owner of the newspaper, to work for a possible online-only successor to the P-I.

The moves are further indication that Hearst "is leaning toward starting an online-only version of the P-I," the report said.

One reporter was quoted as saying that an online-only P-I would employ about 20 people. The newspaper now has a staff of about 150.

The P-I's history can be traced back to 1863. It was bought by Hearst in 1921 and eventually emerged as one of Seattle's two surviving daily newspapers, along with The Seattle Times.

Hearst said the P-I has had operating loses since 2000, losing about 14 million US dollars in 2008 with greater losses expected in 2009.

Hearst's moves with the P-I come as big newspapers across the country are rocked by severe financial problems, The Seattle Times noted in a report yesterday.

Hearst said on Feb. 24 it may also sell or close the money-losing San Francisco Chronicle unless the newspaper can agree on cost savings with its unions.

The San Francisco Chronicle is now planning to cut at least 150employees, local TV station KTVU reported on Thursday.

Just last week, the Rocky Mountain News, the oldest newspaper in the US state of Colorado, was shut down after publisher E.W. Scripps Co. failed to find a buyer.


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