Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Seattle Times Amend Agreement

Posted on February 2, 1999

The Hearst Corporation and the Seattle Times Company have announced changes in their joint business and publishing agreement that will extend the relationship for another 50 years and 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 website 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.

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.

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.