Seattle Newspaper Goes Online Only; World Doesn't End

Dan Gillmor is a BoingBoing guest-blogger.

seattlepi dg15.pngHearst's decision to shut down the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and go online only is an anticlimax -- a long-telegraphed decision. And it's the second such semi-shuttering in the U.S., but definitely part of a trend that will gather strength in the next several years.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer will roll off the presses for the last time Tuesday, ending a 146-year run.

The Hearst Corp. announced Monday that it would stop publishing the newspaper, Seattle's oldest business, and cease delivery to more than 117,600 weekday readers.

The company, however, said it will maintain seattlepi.com, making it the nation's largest daily newspaper to shift to an entirely digital news product.

"Tonight we'll be putting the paper to bed for the last time," Editor and Publisher Roger Oglesby told a silent newsroom Monday morning. "But the bloodline will live on."

The longer-range issue, in Seattle and lots of other cities, is what kind of journalism will be done, and by whom. There's plenty of reason to worry about the demise of newspapers in the short term, but probably more reason to have some level of confidence that we'll end up with the community information we need down the road.

How we'll get there is, in some ways, the topic of a new project I'm semi-launching in the next few days -- a website/book/etc. that asks how we can make media users, consumers and creators alike, much more active (as in activists) in their use of media. This is a demand-side issue as much as a supply-side question, and I hope, with the help of lots of folks, to work on this hard in the next several years.

More about this new project tomorrow...