January 9, 2009

Seattle dailies surprised one may be sold

A television report in Seattle surprised two daily newspaper newsrooms when it said the Seattle Post-Intelligencer may be on its last legs.

A KING/5 news report said the newspaper would be put up for sale by Hearst Corp. and that no buyer was expected, the Post-Intelligencer reported Friday.

The newspaper's publisher Rodger Oglesby did not deny the rumor, but said, there's nothing I can tell you now, the newspaper reported.

The Post-Intelligencer's managing editor David McCumber said, nobody has seen fit to clue me in, but that it wouldn't surprise me if something was going on.

At the newspaper, staff members gathered around the televisions shaking their heads, the report said.

The rival Seattle Times quoted its publisher Frank Blethen as saying, I'm stunned.

The two newspapers work together under a Department of Justice anti-trust agreement called a joint operating agreement.

The newspapers run their own, separate newsrooms, but the Seattle Times handles advertising and circulation for both. The Times then collects 60 percent of the revenues after costs are taken out, while the Hearst Corp. collects 40 percent.

As part of the joint agreement, each newspaper must be offered for sale before it can be closed, the report said.