Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Study says civic participation fell in Denver and Seattle after newspapers closed

Political Communication | Lee Shaker

Civic engagement in Denver and Seattle “dropped significantly from 2008 to 2009,” Portland State University professor Lee Shaker says in a paper published at the end of January called “Dead Newspapers and Citizens’ Civic Engagement” (the published version is paywalled, but Shaker posted a draft of the report last year; all quotes below are from that.) While Shaker allows that other factors may have influenced the drop, measured by the Current Population Survey, it “may plausibly be attributed to the newspaper closures” in those cities.

Denver’s Rocky Mountain News closed in February 2009, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer published its last print edition the next month. (The P-I remained in business as a Web-only news outlet with a much smaller staff.)

Shaker’s study controls for other reasons for the drop, including that 2008 was a presidential election year, but found in eight comparable cities that didn’t lose a print paper, “indicators were not significantly different” in 2009 than the year before. Read more

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What’s left of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer?

Three years after the Seattle Post-Intelligencer went Web-only with a small staff, Crosscut’s Hugo Kugiya looks at how the news organization, where a “dozen or so journalists, various part-time bloggers, and the outside publications that provide content for the site are what remain of the P-I brand,” is fulfilling the mission it set out for itself.

Kugiya says that’s “really two questions, one of business, the other of emotions.” A Hearst executive commends the P-I’s ability to break stories and says it’s a “quasi-national medium with a local bent” that sells “links to content on other Web sites and from Hearst Media Services, which is a full service digital advertising agency.” Kugiya also has many interesting takes from former employees (no one at the P-I responded to his interview requests). Read more