Friday, March 20

Seattle: THE NEW P-I's VIBE (4#) -

I think it's a bit premature to perform a critique on the digital P-I Online, but that hasn't stopped numerous newspaper and media industry veterans from bashing the newborn. Michael Wolff, for example, did a real hatchet job before the new site has even gotten rolling. Others are disappointed. And the High Priests are busy pontificating.

What we currently know is that what got dropped into the crew's lap to begin with was the carcass of the old P-I. But we also know that Hearst hired the Yahoo News Guy. From this we can reasonably extrapolate that the new P-I Online is going to get reworked.

I'm getting a sense that it will be somewhat of a hub mixed with some version of The Chicago Tribune's RedEye.

The point that I want to emphasize here is that this is not a "zero-sum game." I doubt that they are going to take readers away from other publications which already exist or even compete directly against them.

What is probably going to happen, if all goes well, is that Hearst is going to capture a new readership of youngsters who have not been reading news publications so far.

The Chicago RedEye has been performing very successfully in this regard, as far as The Trib is concerned. And I see no reason why the Seattle P-I cannot.

Hearst has a very literate and wired population of youngsters out there. They may not have the same "vibe" or sensibility as the youngsters in Chicago. Hearst may have to tinker the mix around a bit to find out what appeals to the crowd in the Northwest.

The result may not be my taste or yours,
but it could find or create new fans and readers.