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January 16, 2009

Time Magazine: “Seattle Newspaper Writes its Own Obituary” (And Overnight Thread with emphasis on Hummel Figurines along with Other Figurines. Beanie Babies will be suffered, but you will be mocked) (genghis)

(I ain’t bailing yer ass out here…we’re all about "hard collectibles" in this space. Here’s a post to gnaw on)

Free schadenfreude for everyone! Belly up to the bar and take a shot or two before it’s all gone. Because it will be…all too soon. Time Magazine has helpfully provided us with an article describing how the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is basically live-blogging its own demise. Some details:

”Ever wanted to know what a death sentence feels like? You can get a pretty good idea over at the Seattle Post Intelligencer. On Jan. 9, Steve Swartz, an executive from Hearst, announced in the newsroom that the company was putting the money-losing newspaper, known locally as the P-I, up for sale for 60 days.”

Not sure what a death sentence feels like, but I do know that schadenfreude tastes somewhat like Skittles…mostly the lime and cherry ones, but not quite as sour. Is there more to this story, you ask?
” So what does a newspaper's editorial staff do when faced with the deadliest of deadlines? It does what any modern news organization would do. Or what any disgruntled employee would do. Or any spurned teenager with fingers. It writes about itself on the Internet. On Sixty Days, different journalists, including managing editor David McCumber, are covering the P-I's two-month drain-circle day-by-day. The blog has little historical stories about the paper, the video of Swartz's fateful announcement and accounts of McCumber's attempts to find a buyer and handle editorial meetings. All of which means that the closest account of the paper's death walk will be delivered via the instrument that partly brought it about. (Read "Do Newspapers Have a Future?")”

So cruel. Yet so funny. We’ll revisit McCumber’s role in a bit. Nice to see that they’re tryin’ to pimp out the paper on their blog. The article lays out the reasons for impending doom:
”The paper was doomed by the triple-threat that is laying waste to metropolitan dailies everywhere: the massive drop in advertising, particularly home and classified ads, the ready availability of free news online and the limitations of its corporate parent”

Yeah yeah yeah…and all are valid, but I’m shocked, no: SHOCKED to find that they didn’t include the 4th reason. Seattle may be a liberal stronghold, but is ringed by moderate to conservative-leaning suburbs (though not so many as a decade ago). Shockingly enough, there are also a zillion military bases in the area.

But you really should go visit the P-I’s “60 Days” blog and offer your condolences in the comments there (at least until they shut them down). That can be found here.

The sportswriters there seem to be taking it well, talking about maybe getting drunk, but the general reporters seem to be staring impending doom in the face with a quivering upper lip, but patting themselves on the back for soldiering nobly on in the face of sure death. I suspect that "Drama Queen" has to be front and center on each of their resumes. Sadly, Taco Bell doesn't have a space for that on their standard job application.

So far, the P-I’s imminent demise feels like foreplay. Maybe a little heavy petting. So what’s it gonna’ feel like when the New York Times follows it down the drain? Will Penthouse have space in their “letters” section to document all of this?

BACKSTORY: Not everyone’s familiar with the back-story, though it’s been covered here and elsewhere extensively. The aforementioned David McCumber, Managing Editor of the paper wrote an infamous editorial in response to this article in which the P-I refused to publish photos of a pair of men who the FBI suspected might be possible terrorists.

According to McCumber, in his editorial:

” I understand that people have a hard time with the concept that we get to decide what is news and what isn't, and what is fair and what isn't.”

He further goes on to quote Ben Franklin from "Stuff Ben Franklin Said" 5th printing, human-leather-bound limited edition, Necronomicon House Publishing. I think Mr. McCumber has some more serious issues to decide about in the near future. Such as whether to pursue a lucrative job in government as a press secretary or as a hack in a PR firm. Not so much for the schlubs who run the presses or the low-level office staff.

”Stay gold Decider-Boy…stay gold.”

You have to admit, though…he does have a real purty mouth.

(Image swiped from American, which appears to be a conservative blog, which I'd like to link but their address is way too biggish)

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posted by xgenghisx at 02:49 AM

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