Does Seattle need two newspapers?

By Conor Clarke

Starting tomorrow, the Seattle Times will be the only daily paper left in the city:

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer will roll off the presses for the last time Tuesday. The Hearst Corp. announced Monday that it would stop publishing the 146-year old newspaper, Seattle's oldest business, and cease delivery to more than 117,600 weekday readers.

This is obviously bad news, but I'm a little surprised to see it interpreted as a complete catastrophe and not a partial opportunity. I lived in Seattle prior to starting at the Atlantic and I can't remember picking up the P.I. more than a couple of times. (I hope this says more about the Seattle than it does about me.) I don't mean to take a dig at the P.I.; what I mean is that the city is filled with great media options: There are two alternative weeklies (The Seattle Weekly and The Stranger), the crowd-sourced news website Crosscut, and a bunch of great neighborhood-specific blogs.

But most of these either have no resources, or they're structured such that the web and print portions compete for increasingly scarce resources (like most newspapers). I'm eager to see what develops out of a newsroom that has as its mission creating the best web product, rather than the best web product that can be structured around a bundle of dead trees.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2009/03/does-seattle-need-two-newspapers/1588/