Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bye Bye, P-I

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer published its last edition today, becoming the second major daily to go under in the last few weeks (Denver's Rocky Mountain News folded in February).

I won't dwell on the reasons why, but news consumption patterns and advertising preferences - not to mention a lousy economy - are likely to lead more papers to follow suit. And don't think it's not on the mind of me and my colleagues here in Baltimore.

The P-I was a paper I knew more from reputation than from ever having read it. A solid source of information in the Northwest that was a breeding ground for talented writers and artists. This latter fact I learned from one of the newspaper's alums, Ray Collins, a cartoonist who wrote and drew a strip called "Cecil and Dipstick." Ray left the P-I in the late '70s, following family east, and wound up in Columbus, Ohio where he landed as a graphic artist at the interactive QUBE cable system, where I was cutting my professional chops as a young producer. We got to know each other well when, I was in charge of a weekly kid's game show called Quizzles and Ray's cartoons were a huge part of the show.

We'd often go out to lunch together and Ray would entertain me with stories of his days at the P-I, when he was a drinking buddy of Frank Herbert, who went on to author the Dune sci-fi series, and Tom Robbins, who wrote Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and other novels. It was Ray's stories that brought the P-I to life for me.

Good luck to all the journalists who lost jobs as a result of this paper closing. And good luck to the readers in Seattle who have lost a valuable voice in the community.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
-Dylan Thomas


MaryW said...

Very nice post, Sullicom. It has been a day of mourning here in Seattle...still can't quite believe we've lost the finest damn paper in the country...I may be jaded...though the P-I never seemed quite right after Cecil & Dipstick were gone. Today's Ray's birthday...the very day the P-I ran its final edition. As an old friend of Ray's, I ask you--coincidence or synchronicity? :~)

Thanks for taking note of our city's loss; it is a dear one.

Sullicom said...

Thanks Mary. I just dashed off a birthday note to Ray. And my vote goes to synchronicity. I don't believe in coincidence.