Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ominous Happenings At Hearst, Seattle PI’s Parent Company

Posted by Peter Quennell



Above and below, the attractive Seattle PI building, on Seattle’s wonderful waterfront.


And here are two shots (scroll down for the second) of owner Hearst’s attractive Manhattan headquarters.

We remain pretty intrigued by the Seattle PI. We can’t seem to see that it’s serving either Seattle’s or Hearst’s best interests right now.

The PI runs some of the very best stories on the Perugia case in the United States, filed by its cool, dispassionate reporter in Rome.

It also runs on its website what one reader called “the most dishonest blog in America” which is notorious for its fact-challenged one-sidedness and for fronting a secret book deal on the case.

And it has run no in-depth reporting at all on the Seattle angles of the case. 

Back here we mentioned the seemingly shaky economics of the paper, and the recent quite extraordinary drop in its readership.

Papers sold dropped by about 8 percent, in a period where the national drop was less than four (mostly related to the economic cycle), and where some media companies even saw real readership gains.

Our contacts in Manhattan’s great journalism schools seem to think the media industry’s best way forward for survival and growth is class journalism. Dig deeper, and avoid the vicarious thrills of, for example, blogs with an agenda

Our contacts regard the international Perugia case as a truly huge story. An absolute heaven-sent opportunity for the Seattle-based papers.

And they reckon that serious and imaginative handling of that story and its many intriguing Seattle angles could have dug the Seattle PI right out of its hole. And attracted a whole row of Pulitzer prizes.

Ball dropped. In a very serious and possibly life-threatening way.

So what is happening at Hearst’s HQ in Manhattan that relates to this?

Well, Hearst is privately owned, by a Hearst-family foundation, and they control most of the director seats on the board. They are said to be VERY unhappy with group performance.

Six months ago the CEO was forced out. And now there is a report that the interim CEO doesn’t meet with the family’s approval either. 

Expected outcome?

A new Hearst CEO who is expected to be be very hungry for more circulation and more Pulitzer prizes at Hearst’s seriously under-performing papers.

Such as, of course, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Time to get serious, guys…





Comments

The Seattle papers are a long way from keeping up with the London papers which put new stories online almost daily. Guilty or innocent, there are many things I would like to read about Amanda’s home town. I really doubt there is anything about Seattle that contributed to her behavior in Europe, but the papers are not helping to prove that. I havent ever been to Seattle but really like the sound of it and hope to visit it one day!

Posted by Anne on 12/18/08 at 11:50 AM | #

I hope that newspaper is closed down. It hosts that very ugly blog which smeared Meredith and her family. Sorry Seattle, but no newspaper has a right to do that, and you should be up in arms about it if you want people to respect you.

Posted by Mendocino on 12/18/08 at 06:37 PM | #


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