The Stranger (Slog) is doing what looks to be a fascinating piece on the Seattle P-I’s future online plans (if indeed it has any). I posted on Horsesass.org on this with observations on what a local HuffPo would have to look like. The comment queue is high quality as well, including posts from Seattle Jew, and I added this in response to one of the comments:
@15 Ah yes, the archives…who owns ’em and what happens to them? This is the question raised by the legacy “Northwest Source” URL that essentially buckets both newspaper archives into one destination/database. I’ve never been able to get a straight answer on why this is, and what it means in terms of the two papers’ future.
This is especially crucial because archives represent a real revenue stream if, make that when, paid content comes to the Web. For academics, researchers, historians, authors, journalists, activists and others, news archives are a crucial resource worth paying for (a reasonable amount, which the NYT’s $1.50 a pop was not before they dropped it).
I think The Times plan was always to buy out the P-I and absorb its archives, and the P-I went along because it figured Hearst would buy out The Times with the same deal. Then the news biz went south…but if the P-I folds and The Times declares bankruptcy to rid its debt and somehow survives — or vice versa! — the archives will exist in one big pot. If they both just plain cease to be — has this happened yet at a major paper? — then some online entity will surely purchase the archive database for standalone or synergy with other properties.