ALEX R. MAYER becomes a media
My P-I Rescue Plan
I’m a journalist: I give unsolicited advice for a living and also as kind of a hobby. And when I first got the
news of the imminent demise of the 156-year-old Seattle Post-Intelligencer – that rare kind of big-city daily,
attuned to this city’s working-class past and progressive present – I, like newspapermen everywhere, saw
it less as a tragedy than as an opportunity, an opportunity to explain to people how I would save the P-I should
I find it worth my while, using the same journalistic principles that have kept the Belltown Messenger profitable
and important for almost seven years now.
First: buy it. Bidding right now on eBay has the P-I going for $249.95. I’ll wait
until the last second, snipe it at $250. I own about a thousand shares of Jones Soda stock, and if I sell those and then liquidate my IRA and borrow
fifty bucks from my wife I’ll have just enough to become the next Seattle media titan.
Reorganize the staff.
Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and civic treasure David Horsey has no cartooning skills so he will be promoted to
Blogger; when it becomes clear that he has no blogging skills he will be promoted to Man in Charge of Assigned Duties. He’ll be
paid minimum wage plus tips. Enormous savings. Everyone else will be fired.
Nothing says “P-I” more than
the iconic, 400-ton neon P-I Globe, emblazoned as it is with the words “It’s in the P-I.” We will lovingly remove
the Globe from its station atop the P-I building and reposition it at a new suite of offices down at Sixth and Wall. One office will
have a desk and cot for Clark, a MacBook and printer. The other office will house the Globe. As far as the idea of making the Globe
available for viewing or touching for a small fee, no, we are not set up to manage those kinds of crowds. Anyway, the rest of the
old P-I physical plant – its buildings, furniture, heating and cooling systems – will be pushed into Puget Sound.
Change that Ridiculous Name. When people find out what “P-I” stands for they’re pretty shocked.
“Post-Intelligencer” may have
impressed the working class back in the days before electricity, but it says nothing about our style-savvy, progressive present.
We will change the name to the Seattle Pugetopolis-Informer.
Improve Efficiency. Run the same word-search puzzle every day.
People who do word-search puzzles won’t notice. I am not concerned that I am offending those who do such puzzles because
they don’t read the Messenger
and in fact it is not clear that they read at all. Anyway, enormous savings.
Cut Costs. Charles Schulz died with fanfare and fooferaw back in 2000. But time passed and people forgot, so the Seattle Times quietly began rerunning his cartoons, a cost-cutting measure since Schulz no longer had to be paid. But these cartoons are hopelessly obsolete, with Linus griping about George McGovern, Snoopy battling the Red Baron. So the New P-I will improve on this scheme by using modern Dilbert reruns instead, after first printing artist Scott Adams’ obituary. Note: it will not be necessary to run the same Dilbert cartoon every day, as with the word-search
puzzle, because Adams already does that.
Economize. Column-inches are at a premium at today’s beleaguered dailies. Sadly, and in order to better utilize space, in the New P-I the bridge column, the daily horoscope and the stock report will be combined.
Modernize. In the New Economy, all merchandise, consumables and solids will be sold strictly over the Internet. Brick-and-mortar businesses will be obliged to become service-oriented concerns or perish, so the New P-I will offer massage. Shiatsu, Swedish, deep tissue, on Clark’s cot. Relieve stress, lower blood pressure. Clark has soft, intelligent hands.
Modernize. People will sop up any kind of badly-written malarkey if it’s served to them in the form of a blog. So we’ll convert the daily print edition of the New P-I into an hourly.
Newspapers thrive on hard news. But people don’t get their news from newspapers anymore. They get it from their friends, co-workers and family-members. It’s called “soft news” and is always incorrect. I am confident that I could put together a solid team of friends, co-workers and family members to produce a quality big-city daily newspaper filled with the sort of unsourced, unresearched, frankly mindless crap that you’re reading right now.
Written with the assistance of Messenger legal advisor George Clark.
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