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Report: Seattle Weekly stops publishing print edition

After 42 years, the Seattle Weekly will publish it’s last print edition this week.

Crosscut reports that the Seattle Weekly will stop its publishing operations after the current edition hits stands Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The Weekly will convert to an online-only model beginning March 1, similar to what the Seattle PI did in 2009.

The shutdown of the physical paper comes after parent company Sound Publishing laid off the majority of the newspaper’s staff in 2017. Since then, the paper was run by three staff members. The website will be operated by two staff members, and a sales consultant. Content will be sourced from freelancers or from other newspapers in Sound’s local network.

The Weekly was founded in the 1970s by David Brewster, who also started Crosscut. Local journalist Knute Berger, aka “Mossback” was its editor for many years, before moving over to Crosscut. Sound Publishing purchased the Seattle Weekly in 2013, and trimmed down its employees over the years. Sound is the largest community newspaper owner in the state.

In recent years, the Weekly’s pages began to echo much of Sound Publishing’s other newspapers — dwindling content in favor of massive ad placements. The publication was available for free at newsstands throughout Seattle.

The most recent edition of the Seattle Weekly featured 12 pages; six stories (two stories were shared content from Sound’s other papers). Content included a feature story, local news, a marijuana column, and calendar listings.

In contrast, The Stranger (perhaps the closest relative to the Weekly content-wise), most recently published 64 pages, with 30 pages of content, including “things to do,” astrology, a crossword and comics, a marijuana column, and other original content.

According to Crosscut:

The decision ends a more than 40-year run of city and regional coverage and leaves Seattle without a true alternative weekly.

The decision to close the paper comes at the end of the fiscal year for Sound Publishing, which publishes 49 papers around the region and 17 in King County, including the Weekly.

Crosscut also points out the dwindling trend of journalism across the nation and in Seattle, with the Seattle PI a skeleton of what it once was; City Arts shut down; and The Seattle Times opting for grants to fund its reporters. The Stranger switched to a bimonthly publishing model in 2017.

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