About Me

  • I've spent more than 25 years at the intersection of traditional and digital journalism. I've helped to invent ways to read and interact with the news and advertising on computer screens and iPads, and before that, I wrote news stories on typewriters and six-ply paper. I co-founded WashingtonPost.com and hyperlocal pioneers Backfence.com and GrowthSpur; served as editor of Philly.com; taught media entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland; and have done product-development and strategy consulting for all sorts of media and Internet companies and startups. You can read more about me here.

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« Who's Next? | Main | Journalism Is Not Just Newspapers »

March 12, 2009



How much do you think it would cost for an outside buyer to purchase just the website, brand name and archives of the PI?


I don't fault Hearst at all for taking their time on how to proceed in what has to be a very difficult decision. The PI has been publishing for 146 years, and if it takes a few extra weeks to get everything in place for the most graceful exit possible, then so be it. The PI staffers know what's coming, ok they mey not know when to the day, but would that make the news any easier to take? Better to get it right, and shutting down the PI, which has struggled since before the JOA was reached, while sad, is necessary, I'm afraid. This isn't a stupid decision.

Glenn Fleishman

"who would be kept on—at reduced salaries—to run an online edition"

Even worse: Some of the reporters who spoke about the interviews said they would have to sign away severance benefits, give up accrued vacations, and lose other key benefits offered to those being fired.

And they were asked to make this commitment before any plans were settled or announced.

For some long-time employees, severance, vacation cash-out, union-mandated fees, and COBRA health might be enough to give them a transition into another job (in another field, I imagine), freelance work, or retirement.

It's a pretty cruel offer.

Mark Potts

Good question, and I have no idea how to begin to calculate the cost of the assets minus the newspaper. It gets into arcane accounting areas like goodwill, intellectual property, brand equity, etc. I suspect Hearst would love to see an offer. There was news today that somebody is bidding one the remains of the Rocky Mountain News; if that deal goes through, it might give us some basis for a calculation. I'm sure it's in the millions of dollars.

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