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The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (popularly known as the Seattle P-I, the Post-Intelligencer, or simply the P-I) is an online newspaper and former print newspaper covering Seattlemarker, Washingtonmarker and the surrounding area. The newspaper was initially founded in 1863 as the weekly Seattle Gazette and later published daily in broadsheet format until March 17, 2009, when it became an online-only newspaper. Prior to ceasing print publication, the Post-Intelligencer was one of two daily newspapers in Seattle, the other being the The Seattle Times.


The P-I, Seattle's first newspaper, was founded on December 10, 1863 as the Seattle Gazette by J.R. Watson. The paper failed after a few years and was renamed the Weekly Intelligencer in 1867 by the new owner, Sam Maxwell. In 1881, the Intelligencer merged with the Seattle Post. The names were combined to form the present-day name.

Circulation stood at 31,000 in 1911. In 1912, editor Eric W. Allen left the paper to found the University of Oregonmarker School of Journalism, which he ran until his death in 1944.

William Randolph Hearst took over the paper in 1921. The Hearst Corporation owns the P-I to this day.

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt had a special relationship with the P-I. In 1936, their son-in-law John Boettiger took over as publisher. He brought his wife Anna, the Roosevelts' daughter, to also work at the paper. Anna became editor of the women's page. Boettiger left Seattle to enter the U.S. Army in April 1943, while Anna stayed at the paper to help keep a liberal voice in the running of the paper. After Boettiger's absence, the paper increasingly turned conservative with Hearst's new acting publisher. Anna would leave Seattle in December 1943 to live in the White House with her youngest child, Johnny. This effectively ended the Roosevelt-Boettiger ties with the P-I.

On December 15, 2006, no copies were printed as a result of a power outage caused by the December 2006 Pacific Northwest storms. It was the first time in 70 years that publication had been suspended.

On January 9, 2009, the Hearst Corporation announced that after losing money on it every year since 2000, Hearst was putting the P-I up for sale. The paper would be put on the market for 60 days, and if a buyer could not be found within that time, the paper would either be turned into an Internet-only publication with a drastically reduced staff, or closed outright. The news of the paper's impending sale was initially broken by local station KING-TVmarker the night prior to the official announcement, and came as a surprise to the P-I's staff and the owners of rival newspaper The Seattle Times.Analysts did not expect a buyer to be found, in view of declining circulation in the U.S. newspaper industry and other newspapers on the market going unsold. Five days before the 60-day deadline, the P-I reported that the Hearst Corporation had given several P-I reporters provisional job offers for an online edition of the P-I.

On March 16, 2009, the newspaper posted a headline on its front page, followed shortly after by a short news story, that explained that the following day's edition would be its final one in print. The newspaper's publisher, Roger Oglesby, was quoted saying that the P-I would continue as an online-only operation. Print subscribers had their subscriptions automatically transferred to the Seattle Times on March 18.

The P-I is among the most heavily trafficked newspapers in the U.S., and in 2009 was regularly exceeding the page views and unique visitors of its competitor, the Times.

Joint Operating Agreement - "JOA"

From 1983 to 2009, the P-I and The Seattle Times had a "Joint Operating Agreement" (JOA) whereby advertising, production, marketing, and circulation were run for both papers by the Seattle Times Company. They maintained separate news and editorial departments. The papers published a combined Sunday edition, although the Times handled the majority of the editorial content while the P-I only provided a small editorial/opinions section.

In 2003 Times tried to cancel the JOA, citing a clause in the JOA that three consecutive years of losses were cause for cancelling the agreement. Hearst disagreed and immediately filed suit to prevent the Times from cancelling the agreement. Hearst argued that a force majeure clause prevented the Times from claiming losses in 2000 and 2001 as reason to end the JOA, because they resulted from extraordinary events (in this case, a seven week newspaper strike).Each side publicly accused the other of attempting to put its rival out of business. The trial judge granted a summary judgment in Hearst's favor on the force majeure issue. But after two appeals, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Times on June 30, 2005, on the force majeure clause, reversing the trial court judge. The two papers settled the issue on April 16, 2007.

The JOA was ended in 2009 with the cessation of the P-I print edition.


The P-I is notable for its two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist, David Horsey.

Report on Judge Gary Little

Investigative reporting on King County Superior Court Judge Gary Little's out-of-court contact with juvenile defendants revealed accusations that Little molested young boys while he was a teacher at Seattle's exclusive Lakeside Schoolmarker between 1968 and 1971. It also revealed inappropriate contact between Little and juveniles appearing before him after he became a judge. On August 19, 1988, after reporter Duff Wilson called the judge to advise him the newspaper was publishing the story, Little shot himself in the King County Courthouse. The ethical debates surrounding the publication of the story – and the network of connections that protected Little – are taught in journalism classes across the country, and led to reforms in the way judges are disciplined in Washington state.

Conduct Unbecoming series

In 2006 the P-I was the subject of a complaint to the Washington News Council for its reporting on the King Countymarker Sheriff's Office. The media watch-dog group ruled against the P-I, agreeing with Sheriff Sue Rahr's complaint that the newspaper had unfairly disparaged the Sheriff's Office. The P-I declined to participate in the proceedings, and opted instead to give a detailed reply on its website.

The P-I Globe

The P-I is known for the 18.5-ton, 30-ft neon globe atop its headquarters on the Elliott Baymarker waterfront, which features the words "It's in the P-I" rotating around the globe and an eagle perched atop with wings stretched upwards. The globe was conceived around 1949 in a readers contest to determine a new symbol for the paper. In the time since, the globe has become a city landmark that to locals is as iconic as the Space Needlemarker. A stylized rendering of the globe appeared on the masthead of the newspaper in its latter years and continues to be featured on its website.

Notable employees

Among the P-I's notable employees have been novelists E.B. White, Frank Herbert and Tom Robbins.

See also

  • Hutch Award (baseball award bestowed at P-I's annual "Sports Star of the Year" banquet)


External links

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