About a month ago, after 146 years in business, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer put out its last print edition. At the same time, the publisher, Hearst Corp., also said farewell to about 130 reporters, editors, pressmen and others laid off by the company.
In late March, Hearst Corp. completed a similar staff reduction at the Houston Chronicle, giving on March 24-25 dozens of its nonmanagement staff (including this blogger) a generous severance package, new career training and the opportunity to seek new employment horizons.
In Houston, the laid off quietly walked the center hallways at the Hearst-supplied training program — ironically held at the site of the Houston Chronicle’s former major newspaper rival, the Houston Post building — like a ghost casting of “The Sunshine Boys.” Since then, we’ve all quietly melted into employment lines, seeking our future employers who, in this economic downturn, will doubtlessly will welcome our collective centuries of valuable experience. Really Soon Now.
Seattle, however, is another story.
It is, after all, a town where The Needle is still sharp.
A small group of former reporters and shutterbugs banded together April 14 with the Village Voice Media-owned Seattle Weekly and public TV station KCTS to launch a live news web site — seattlepostglobe.org. That’s about a month since the staff got their kiss-off severance packages and new career opportunities.
Before the Seattle layoffs, Hearst Corp. had unsuccessfully sought a buyer for the paper, with no takers. Now the Seattle PI’s digital product, seattlepi.com, is being produced online by less than two dozen reamining staff members.
Check out the Seattle former employees’ new nonprofit site at seattlepostglobe.org.