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As Cities Go From Two Papers to One, Talk of Zero

Mar 16, 2009

The history of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer stretches back more than two decades before Washington became a state, but after 146 years of publishing, the paper is expected to print its last issue next week, perhaps surviving only in a much smaller online version.

And it is not alone. The Rocky Mountain News shut down two weeks ago, and The Tucson Citizen is expected to fold next week.

At least Denver, Seattle and Tucson still have daily papers. But now, some economists and newspaper executives say it is only a matter of time — and probably not much time at that — before some major American city is left with no prominent local newspaper at all.

“In 2009 and 2010, all the two-newspaper markets will become one-newspaper markets, and you will start to see one-newspaper markets become no-newspaper markets,” said Mike Simonton, a senior director at Fitch Ratings, who analyzes the industry.

Many critics and competitors of newspapers — including online start-ups that have been hailed as the future of journalism — say that no one should welcome their demise.

Read the rest of the story:  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/12/business/media/12papers.html?_r=2&hp

New York Times

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