The stripped-down SeattlePI.com, which became an online-only news destination March 17, 2009, still isn’t making money, despite a news staff 88 percent smaller than its print edition.
According to Crosscut, Hearst’s Seattle Media General Manager Pat Balles said the site is “headed for profit” but wouldn’t give a date as to when that might happen.
In January, student journalists at Seattle University took SeattlePI.com to task for featuring celebrity news and LOLcats over the site’s original reporting. So maybe the issue isn’t “website fails DESPITE its lack of staff,” but because of.
Or maybe it’s more complicated than that.
“Paid content” is still such a huge gray area. Sure, the WSJ’s doing okay, but Newsday, the NYT, even Civil Beat are squarely in the “trying to make it work” not the “it works” camp. Ad revenues are not dependable, though they are slowly growing, and until then there has to be a way to make this work. Does that mean toughing it out? Hiring more journalists? Firing more?