Seattle P-I Close To The Edge

Since the deadline for Hearst Corp. to find a buyer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has passed, the paper is one step closer to doom.

Staff members learned Tuesday afternoon that boxes and bins are scheduled to be delivered to the newsroom later this week — some for materials to be taken home, others for notes that require shredding.

Employees were told to file promptly to be reimbursed for their expenses. And they were told they can retain their cell phone numbers if they wish.

Hearst said in January that it would put the paper up for sale for 60 days, closing it if no buyer emerged but possibly maintaining the P-I Web site. On Tuesday, another clue emerged as to Hearst’s intentions: The company renewed the domain name “SeattlePI.com” through March 25, 2010, with registrar Network Solutions. It would have expired later this month.

We’ve talked about this before, and the silver-lining here is that the company seems willing to go ahead with an online-only product, but people are going to lose their jobs, a community is going to lose it’s paper, and that’s never good. This is very likely the beginning of the new era of news production for traditional medai outlets. Watch for more dominoes like this to fall.

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