Former Seattle P-I Journalists Consider Creating News Sites

The Seattle Times reports today on two separate efforts by ex-Seattle Post-Intelligencer journalists to create their own online news services. The Times story says one group has met with academics, while the other has discussed plans with public broadcasters.

Their goal is similar to one underway in Denver, where a group that worked for the now-defunct Rocky Mountain Newsis seeking subscriptions for a local news site called In Denver Times. But in Denver, the Rocky stopped publishing anything, while the P-I converted to a lean, online-only news site after it published its last edition 10 days ago. Hearst kept about 20 employees for its SeattlePI.com.

The two initiatives under discussion would compete with SeattlePI.com and The Seattle Times.

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The Times says neither group of Seattle journalists has settled on a business model. There’s talk of pledges (à la public broadcasting), community ownership and foundation support.

University of Washington communications professor David Domke is one of the academics who has spoken to the journalists:

“Domke and other university faculty have met with a group of former P-I editors and reporters who hope to establish a news organization that would produce investigative, enterprise and narrative journalism focused on the West.

“‘These aren’t the kind of stories you can do in a day or two,’ said Rita Hibbard, a former P-I assistant managing editor and spokeswoman for the group. ‘How do we keep this form alive? The need is still there.’”

The other initiative, called Seattle Post Globe, would be owned by community members like pro football’s Green Bay Packers:

“Seattle Post Globe has raised only about $4,000 so far, insiders say. But former Seattle Weekly managing editor Chuck Taylor, who is advising the venture, said a Web site could go live in the next few weeks, with reporters and editors working for free at first.”

Meanwhile, SeattlePI.com’s Web traffic is down 20 percent since the paper folded, according to a post on paidContent.org by ex-P-I reporter Joseph Tartakoff. (On Thursday, the site published Tartakoff’s account of the final days of the P-I.)

Oh, and if you have an idea about what to do with all those empty Post-Intelligencer newspaper boxes, inquiring minds want to know.

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