The July 4, 2006, front page of
The Seattle Times
|Owner(s)||The Seattle Times Company|
|Publisher||Frank A. Blethen|
|Editor||Michele Matassa Flores|
|Founded||1891(as Seattle Press-Times)|
|Headquarters||1000 Denny Way |
Seattle, Washington 98109
(averages for the six-month period ending March 31, 2013)
The newspaper was founded in 1891 and has been controlled by the Blethen family since 1896. The Seattle Times Company also owns local newspapers in Walla Walla and Yakima. It had a longstanding rivalry with the Post-Intelligencer until the latter ceased publication in 2009.
The Seattle Times originated as the Seattle Press-Times, a four-page newspaper founded in 1891 with a daily circulation of 3,500, which Maine teacher and attorney Alden J. Blethen bought in 1896. Renamed the Seattle Daily Times, it doubled its circulation within half a year. By 1915, circulation stood at 70,000.
The newspaper moved to the Times Square Building at 5th Avenue and Olive Way in 1915. It built a new headquarters, the Seattle Times Building, north of Denny Way in 1930. The paper moved to its current headquarters at 1000 Denny Way in 2011.
The Seattle Times switched from afternoon delivery to mornings on March 6, 2000, citing that the move would help them avoid the fate of other defunct afternoon newspapers. This placed the Times in direct competition with its Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) partner, the morning Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Nine years later, the Post-Intelligencer became an online-only publication.
The Times is one of the few remaining major city dailies in the United States independently operated and owned by a local family (the Blethens). The Seattle Times Company, while owning and operating the Times, also owns three other papers in Washington, and formerly owned several newspapers in Maine that were sold to MaineToday Media.The McClatchy Company owns 49.5 percent of voting common stock in the Seattle Times Company, formerly held by Knight Ridder until 2006.
The Times reporting has received 11 Pulitzer Prizes, most recently for its breaking news coverage of the Boeing 737 MAX groundings. It has an international reputation for its investigative journalism, in particular. In April 2012, investigative reporters Michael Berens and Ken Armstrong won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for a series documenting more than 2,000 deaths caused by the state of Washington's use of methadone as a recommended painkiller in state-supported care. In April 2010, the Times staff won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting for its coverage, in print and online, of the shooting deaths of four police officers in a Lakewood coffee house and the 40-hour manhunt for the suspect. A tenth Pulitzer Prize was awarded in 2015 for breaking news coverage of the Oso mudslide.
In 1982 reporter Paul Henderson won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for his coverage of the case of Steve Titus. Titus had been wrongfully convicted of rape, and in a serious of articles Henderson challenged the circumstantial evidence in the case, convincing the judge to reverse Titus' conviction.
In February 2002, The Seattle Times ran a subheadline "American outshines Kwan, Slutskaya in skating surprise" after Sarah Hughes won the gold medal at the 2002 Olympics. Many Asian Americans felt insulted by the Times' actions, because Michelle Kwan is also American. Asian American community leaders criticized the subheadline as perpetuating a stereotype that people of color can never be truly American.
On October 17, 2012, the publishers of The Seattle Times launched advertising campaigns in support of Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna and a state referendum to legalize same-sex marriage. The newspaper's management said the ads were aimed at "demonstrating how effective advertising with The Times can be." The advertisements in favor of McKenna represent an $80,000 independent expenditure, making the newspaper the third largest contributor to his campaign. More than 100 staffers signed a letter of protest sent to Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen, calling it an "unprecedented act".
From 1983 to 2009, the Times and Seattle's other major paper, the Hearst-owned Seattle Post-Intelligencer, were run under a "Joint Operating Agreement" (JOA) whereby advertising, production, marketing, and circulation were controlled by the Times for both papers. The two papers maintained their own identities with separate news and editorial departments.
The Times announced its intention to cancel the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) in 2003, citing a clause in the JOA contract that three consecutive years of losses allowed it to pull out of the agreement. Hearst sued, arguing that a force majeure clause prevented the Times from claiming losses as reason to end the JOA when they result from extraordinary events (in this case, a seven-week strike by members of the Newspaper Guild). While a district judge ruled in Hearst's favor, the Times won on appeal, including a unanimous decision from the Washington State Supreme Court on June 30, 2005. Hearst continued to argue that the Times fabricated its loss in 2002. The two papers announced an end to their dispute on April 16, 2007.
This arrangement JOA was terminated when the Post-Intelligencer ceased publication; its final printed edition was March 17, 2009.
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For decades, the broadsheet page width of the Times was inches (34 cm), printed from a 54-inch web, the four-page width of a roll of newsprint. Following changing industry standards, the width of the page was reduced in 2005 by 1 inch (2.5 cm), to inches (32 cm), now a 50-inch web standard. In February 2009, the web size was further reduced to 46 inches, which narrowed the page by another inch to inches (29 cm) in width.