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March 06, 2009

Seattle P-I Update: The Deciders Have Some Decisions to Make…Like Immediately (genghis)

(It’s almost over, sadly. We’ll miss them when they’re gone, but all this is simply practice for when the New York Times and others follow them down the drain. It’s just kind of amazing to watch a washed-up mid-major newspaper document it’s own demise, yet be so clueless as to the reasons why)

So I guess none of your thoughtful business model suggestions for helping out the P-I really took root last night. Today brings a new tale of woe around the newsroom. Today the evil bastards from Hearst Corp. (owner of the P-I) started thinning out the herd, interviewing those selected to be a part of the new, online-only version of the P-I. It also appears that, besides wire service stories, the remains of the staff are simply wandering around and interviewing each other. And getting lots of “no comments.” From P-I reporter Dan Richman:

”The reporters wouldn't give details, saying they had been asked during their interviews not to comment.”

(lotsa’ tasty quotes and continuing shaudenfreude below the fold)

At some point you have to think they’re also actually interviewing themselves in front of a mirror. Wonder if they’ll start staking out their own residences in the unlikely but hopeful chance they’ll score an exclusive scoop interview with themselves as they come out to pick up the morning’s non-existent paper? At this point the whole thing is getting a little Kafka-esque, yet still entertaining.
The newspaper soon-to-be-blog only intends to keep about 20 people on board. Our dear friend, Managing Editor Decider David McCumber weighs in with this:

”McCumber said his "no comment" shouldn't be taken as an indication he will be involved with an online-only P-I.
"I just think the process should be given a chance to unfold as smoothly as possible, without stories appearing prematurely," he said.”

Well that’s understandable and all, though I can’t imagine how a newspaper soon-to-be-blog would get anything wrong, considering they have “journalism that goes two, three, or four layers deep.” (see last night’s overnight thread) And of course they probably won’t have the resources to retain their sorely overworked Corrections Editor. I’m sure he has a bright, but limited, future with the New York Times which is desperate for help in that area.
But for anyone reading (or writing) this who’s lost their job recently, it’s hard not to sympathize with the plight of one P-I reporter who had the balls to stand up to the “Man” at Hearst:
”One metro reporter, Hector Castro, said Riddick didn't ask him not to speak. The general assignment reporter, at the P-I for nine years, said he turned down Riddick's offer. He said the offer increased his health insurance cost, cut his salary by an unspecified amount, offered to match his 401(k) contributions, required him to forgo his P-I severance pay, reduced his vacation accrual to zero and required him to give up overtime.”

"I got the definite impression Hearst does plan to go forward with the site, assuming the paper stops publishing," Castro said.”

”He said he turned down the offer because he finds working online "too tech-oriented.”

Strong words. Strong words indeed. We’re with you all the way Hector…right to the bitter hilarious bitter end. If I could offer a few words of advice bro’? Do a little online research into the practical operation of deep-fat frying equipment while you still have internet access. It’s fairly low-tech (the fryers), but the nice people at the public library might be able to help. You never know when that knowledge might come in handy. Ya’ dig?

Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to xgenghisx@gmail.com. Otherwise send tips to Ace.

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posted by xgenghisx at 01:06 AM

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