Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

BoomTown Checks In at the Online-Only Seattle Post-Intelligencer

A little more than a week ago, while I was in the Pacific Northwest for a Microsoft (MSFT) event, I decided to pay a visit on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Or, as its brand is known now: seattlepi.com.

That would be the pixel-only version of the newspaper that was founded in 1863 as that city’s first, publishing a print version until March of 2009.

It was then that the presses stopped and the computing began at the unit, owned by Hearst Corp. The media giant, weary of increasing losses and declining circulation, tried first to sell the P-I and then–with no buyers in sight–transformed it into an Internet-only operation.

This includes a heavy emphasis on hyper-local, breaking news and partnerships and trying to knit together a regional identity for the Seattle area online.

And lots and lots of interaction with readers, via blogs and other ways for them to contribute.

Thus, it’s been chugging away, trying to increase traffic–about four million monthly uniques and 40 million page views–and make some bank, too, via its local digital marketing and advertising services of Hearst Seattle Media, the business arm.

While, as a private company, Hearst declined to give me any actual financial figures, its PR dude wrote me in an email, “We are on track with our business plan and have an aggressive timetable for profitability which we expect we will reach in the next couple of months.”

Let’s hope that happens, as it would be nice to see experiments like these live happily ever after.

Until then, here is my video interview with the seattlepi.com’s Executive Producer Michelle Nicolosi on how it’s going so far, as well as a short tour of the place:


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work