Friday, November 13, 2009

Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Seattle Times Amend Agreement.

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SEATTLE, Feb. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The Hearst Corporation and the Seattle Times Company today announced changes in their joint business and publishing agreement that will strengthen and extend the relationship for another 50 years and will permit the Seattle Times to join Hearst's Post-Intelligencer in morning publication Monday through Friday.

The amended agreement includes a fifty-year extension of the JOA to Dec. 31, 2083, provides an increase in the Post-Intelligencer's economic participation from the current 32 percent to 40 percent and permits the Times conversion to morning publication.

Other agreements enable the P-I to create and operate a fully competitive internet web site and provide The Hearst Corporation with a right-of-first-purchase of the Seattle Times should its owners decide to sell the newspaper.

"The real winners in this new arrangement are Seattle-area newspaper readers," said J. D. Alexander, Editor and Publisher of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "The extension of the agreement combined with the move of the Times to the morning publishing cycle means that Seattle readers can count on two strong, independent editorial voices far into the next century.

"Two newspapers, competing vigorously head-to-head, will enrich the journalistic service both newspapers provide the Seattle community and will improve the economic health and vitality of each newspaper," Alexander said.

Alexander said he expects the Post-Intelligencer's talented newsroom staff to thrive on the direct competition. "We have always believed that it was the quality of the journalism in the P-I, not our publishing cycle, that enabled us to compete vigorously and successfully in the Seattle market. With the significant additional resources the amendment to the Joint Operating Agreement brings to our newspaper, we anticipate raising our newspaper's journalistic quality to still higher levels."

Under the existing joint operating agreement between the Post-Intelligencer and the Times, in effect since 1983, the Seattle Times, which has circulated in the evening Monday through Friday, has been responsible for advertising, circulation, promotion and production of the two newspapers. The news and editorial operations of the two newspapers have been separate and competitive, and will remain so under the new agreement. The Post-Intelligencer independently produces Focus, an editorial and opinion section, for the combined Sunday edition, and will continue to do so.

A clear national trend demonstrating reader preference for morning newspapers, the growth in highway congestion in the greater Seattle region making Seattle Times afternoon delivery increasingly difficult and the desire to avoid greater capital and operating costs to overcome afternoon delivery delays led the two companies to amend the joint operating agreement.

The amended agreement provides for a two-year transition to morning publication by the Seattle Times. "To sustain our success and future growth, it isn't feasible for the Seattle Times to continue publishing an afternoon paper," said Mason Sizemore, president and chief operating officer of the Times.

The agreement also clears the way for the Post-Intelligencer to expand in electronic publishing backed by The Hearst Corporation's extensive experience in internet technologies. The Post-Intelligencer's website, P-I Plus at, will be expanded immediately to include each day's news and editorial report.

The Post-Intelligencer is one of 12 daily newspapers published by The Hearst Corporation. Others include the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, San Antonio Express-News and the Albany Times Union. The Hearst Corporation is one of the nation's largest diversified communications companies, with interests in magazine, newspaper, book and business publishing; television and radio stations; newspaper comics and features syndication; cable television networks; television production and syndication; and new media activities.


Q: What changes?

A: The Joint Operating Agreement between the newspapers was amended to increase the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's economic participation from 32 percent to 40 percent, to extend the agreement until Dec. 31, 2083, and to allow the Seattle Times to convert from afternoon to morning publication Monday through Friday over the next two years. Other agreements enable the P-I to operate a fully competitive internet website and provide The Hearst Corporation with a right-of-first purchase of the Seattle Times.

Q: Why is The Hearst Corporation making these changes?

A: To strengthen and extend the business relationship and to ensure its growth and success. The changes also enable the Post-Intelligencer to continue to aggressively fulfill its commitment to serving the Seattle and Pacific Northwest communities through quality journalism.

Q: Were the changes necessary?

A: Yes, by making the joint operation stronger by realizing economies through sharing the morning publication cycle. Other factors leading to the amendment include a national trend demonstrating a readership preference for morning newspapers and highway and street congestion in Seattle that has made afternoon delivery very difficult and that has led the Seattle Times Co. to contemplate multiple printing sites around the county, thereby raising capital and operating costs.

Present production facilities in Bothell can handle both newspapers in the morning cycle as it does now on Saturdays and holidays.

Q: Are there other metropolitan areas with two competing morning newspapers?

A: Yes. Among them are New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, Denver and Vancouver, B.C.

Q: What is the Joint Operating Agreement?

A: In 1983, The Hearst Corporation and the Seattle Times Co., publishers of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Seattle Times, implemented the Joint Operating Agreement under provisions of the Newspaper Preservation Act. The act provides a way to preserve separate and competing news and editorial voices in communities that might otherwise only be able to financially support one newspaper. The two companies have filed an amendment to the 1983 agreement with the U.S. Justice Department.

Q: How does the Agreement work?

A: Since 1983, the Seattle Times has been responsible for advertising, circulation, promotion and production for both newspapers. The news and editorial operations of the two newspapers are separate and competitive. These responsibilities remain the same.

Q: How will this affect Post-Intelligencer employees?

A: It is unlikely that any jobs or schedules will change.

Q: How will these changes affect Post-Intelligencer readers?

A: It will add significant resources to the newspaper and ensure that readers will continue to benefit from the P-I's commitment to quality journalism and content. The Hearst Corporation is committed to the Seattle market and to providing its Seattle and Washington State readers with the best newspaper possible.

Source Citation
"Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Seattle Times Amend Agreement." PR Newswire 2 Feb. 1999: 6312. Academic OneFile. Web. 13 Nov. 2009. .

Gale Document Number:A53685683

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