Aug 10, 2009

Once Near-Death Seattle Newspaper Suddenly Thriving [Newspapers]

Well here's a bright ray of sunshine for the struggling newspaper industry: the Seattle Times, thought to be on the verge of collapse earlier in the year, is suddenly turning a profit again.

Of course, the Times' rebounding fortunes have something to do with the fact that Seattle's other daily newspaper, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, folded in March of this year. Still, at the time the outlook for the Times looked bleak, but in the five months since the Post-Intelligencer went under, the Times' circulation has risen by 30%. Things are going so well, the paper's been able to halt the massive layoffs it had previously initiated, as Richard Perez-Pena of the New York Times reports:

The Times, long seen as one of the best regional papers in the country, has had an unusually big newsroom for its circulation, and a devotion to time-consuming investigative work. (Publisher Frank) Blethen resisted cutting the staff or the size of the paper long after most big papers started to shrink.

But cuts became unavoidable, and the newsroom has dropped to 210 people, from about 375 five years ago. Now, Times executives have an unexpected hope that the cutting has stopped, at least for a while.

"We're about at the floor of what we feel we can have and still put out a Seattle Times we can be proud of," said David Boardman, the executive editor. "We've had to be more thoughtful in choosing what we do, but I'm not one to claim that less is more. Less is less."

So maybe this is, like, a trend now? The New York Times also posted profits recently! And both papers did it without having to charge for their web content. Imagine that!

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