In March, Hearst made a difficult decision and shuttered the 146 year old Seattle P.I newspaper, hoping instead to salvage the brand as an online-only news portal. The goal, Hearst CEO Frank Bennack, Jr., said in a statement, was to turn Seattlepi.com into “the leading news and information portal in the region.” That goal may be a little harder to achieve thanks to some of the very staff the paper let go.
Tuesday, a collection of prior Seattle P.I. staff launched a competing site at Seattlepostglobe.org.
The new site, which was organized as a non-profit, is focused on news, sports, local life and opinion. The Post Globe’s contributors hope they will be able to carve out an existence as another phoenix raised from the ashes of the P.I.
Explained Kery Murakami in a welcome article on the site, “we — former P-I journalists — are embarking on a new stage in our careers, hoping to fulfill our life’s mission in a different way. We want to keep letting [Seattle area residents] know what’s really going on in this city.
At first, we’re doing this as volunteers. But what you’ll find on this Web site is a story much larger than ours.
As in Denver, where the journalists of the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News also are starting their own news site, we’re forging on because we believe newspaper-quality journalism needs to continue even as newspapers close.”
The volunteers include former P.I photographers, a copy editor, sports reporters, the former foreign desk editor and beat reporters with experience covering regional politics and local news.
Cumulatively, the twenty staffers whose bios are listed on the new site had contributed more than 200 years of service to the Seattle P.I. before it shuttered. Many put in more than 9 years a piece, and a few more than 25.
At this point, their new effort is not much more than a local multi-author blog built on the open source content management platform Joomla but it will be interesting to see how it develops.
A lot of former print journalists are looking for reinvention and success in the digital world. It’s not terribly hard to throw up a shingle and see what happens but running an online news site capable of generating sustainable income from advertising is not an easy task, especially on a bootstrapped budget. The barriers to entry are low, but the barriers to success are high.
As a non-profit, the Post Globe will take a less traveled route and try to do it through a combination of community donations and ad revenue. Their goal is to try and get 8,000 people to donate $10 a month.
The site was launched in partnership with local public TV station KCTS and the Seattle Weekly. Seattle Weekly will handle ad sales.
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