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The Seattle Times

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The Seattle Times
The July 4, 2006 front page
of The Seattle Times
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)The Seattle Times Company
PublisherFrank A. Blethen
EditorMichele Matassa Flores
Founded1891; 133 years ago (1891) (as Seattle Press-Times)
Headquarters1000 Denny Way
Seattle, Washington
Circulation210,156 (as of 2022)[1]
OCLC number9198928

The Seattle Times is an American daily newspaper based in Seattle, Washington. Founded in 1891, The Seattle Times has the largest circulation of any newspaper in the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region. The Seattle Times Company, which owns and publishes the paper, is mostly owned by the Blethen family, which holds 50.5% of the company; the other 49.5% is owned by The McClatchy Company. The Blethen family has owned and operated the newspaper since 1896.

The Seattle Times had a longstanding rivalry with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer until the latter ceased physical publication in 2009.

The Seattle Times has received 11 Pulitzer Prizes and is widely renowned for its investigative journalism.[2]


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.[2][3] 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. In 1966, the publication changed to its current name of The Seattle Times.[4]

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.[5] This placed the Times in direct competition with its Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) partner, the morning Seattle Post-Intelligencer.[6] Nine years later, the Post-Intelligencer became an online-only publication.[7]

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 later sold to MaineToday Media.[8][9] The McClatchy Company owns 49.5% of voting common stock in the Seattle Times Company, formerly held by Knight Ridder until 2006.[10]


The Seattle Times has received 11 Pulitzer Prizes,[2] most recently in 2020 for its national reporting of the Boeing 737 MAX crashes[11] by reporters Dominic Gates, Mike Baker, Steve Miletich and Lewis Kamb. It has an international reputation for its investigative journalism in particular.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14] A tenth Pulitzer Prize was awarded in 2015 for breaking news coverage of the Oso mudslide.[15]

Times photographer Jerry Gay won the 1975 Spot News Photography prize for "Lull in the Battle", an image of firefighters resting after fighting a house fire. 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 series of articles Henderson challenged the circumstantial evidence in the case, convincing the judge to reverse Titus' conviction.[16]


2002 headline controversy[edit]

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.[17][18] Many Asian Americans felt insulted by the headline because Michelle Kwan is also American.[19] Asian American community leaders criticized the subheadline as perpetuating a stereotype that people of color can never be truly American.[19] The incident echoed a similar incident that happened with an MSNBC article during the Winter games in 1998,[19] which was reported on by Times.[20] The newspaper's Executive Editor at the time of the controversy, Mike Fancher, issued an apology in the aftermath of the controversial headline.[19]

2012 election controversy[edit]

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."[21] The advertisements in favor of McKenna represented an $80,000 independent expenditure, making the newspaper the third largest contributor to his campaign.[22] More than 100 staffers signed a letter of protest sent to Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen, calling it an "unprecedented act".[23]

Joint Operating Agreement[edit]

"Quarters of the news editor", one in a group of four photos in the brochure Seattle and the Orient (1900), collectively captioned "The Seattle Daily Times—Editorial Department"

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.[2] The two papers maintained their own identities with separate news and editorial departments.

The Times announced its intention to cancel the JOA in 2003, citing a clause in the JOA contract that three consecutive years of losses allowed it to pull out of the agreement.[24] 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.[25] 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.[26]

The JOA was terminated when the Post-Intelligencer ceased publication; its final printed edition was March 17, 2009.[7]


The Times contains different sections every day. Each daily edition includes Main News & Business, a NW section for the day, Sports, and any other sections listed below.[citation needed]

Friday: NW Autos; Weekend Plus

Saturday: NW Homes

Sunday: Business; ShopNW; NW Jobs; NW Arts & Life; NW Traveler; Pacific NW Magazine

Pacific NW is a glossy magazine published every week and inserted in the Sunday edition.

Delivery and page width[edit]

For decades, the broadsheet page width of the Times was 13+12 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 12+12 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 11+12 inches (29 cm) in width.[27]


  1. ^ "The Decline of Local News and Its Impact on Democracy" (PDF). League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund. November 14, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d "Overview of the Seattle Times". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on January 31, 2014.
  3. ^ Crowley, Walt (August 10, 2006). "The Seattle Times publishes its first edition edited by new co-owner Alden J. Blethen on August 10, 1896". HistoryLink.org – The Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History.
  4. ^ "The Seattle Daily Times (Seattle, Wash.) 1896-1966". Library of Congress. United States. Retrieved September 3, 2021.
  5. ^ American Journalism Review: 40 Years Of Death In The Afternoon Archived March 30, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Seattle Times Shifts to Mornings". The New York Times. March 5, 2000. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Pérez-Peña, Richard (March 11, 2009). "As Cities Go From Two Papers to One, Talk of Zero". The New York Times. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  8. ^ Richards, Bill (June 2009). "Blethen's Choice". Seattle Business Magazine. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
  9. ^ Mapes, Lynda V. (June 16, 2009). "Times Co. completes long-stalled sale of Maine newspapers". The Seattle Times. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
  10. ^ "McClatchy Now Gets 49% of 'Seattle Times'–And Gains 2 Other Washington Papers". Editor & Publisher. March 14, 2006. Archived from the original on August 28, 2016. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
  11. ^ Baruchman, Michelle (May 4, 2020). "Seattle Times wins Pulitzer Prize for Boeing 737 MAX coverage". The Seattle Times. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  12. ^ Outing, Steve (November 16, 2005). "Investigative Journalism: Will It Survive?". NetNovinar.org. Archived from the original on October 4, 2007.
  13. ^ "The 2012 Pulitzer Prize Winners".
  14. ^ "The 2010 Pulitzer Prize Winners".
  15. ^ "Seattle Times awarded Pulitzer Prize for Oso landslide coverage". The Seattle Times. April 20, 2015. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  16. ^ Paul Henderson, Pulitzer Prize-winning Seattle Times reporter who championed the underdog, dies at 79 | The Seattle Times
  17. ^ Chang, Iris (2003). The Chinese in America: A Narrative History. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-1-101-12687-5. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  18. ^ Tewari, Nita; Alvarez, Alvin N., eds. (2009). Asian American Psychology: Current Perspectives. Taylor & Francis Group. p. 421. ISBN 9781136678028. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  19. ^ a b c d Fancher, Mike (March 3, 2002). "Times won't forget readers' reminder on Kwan headline". The Seattle Times. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  20. ^ Sorensen, Eric (March 3, 1998). "Asian Groups Attack Msnbc Headline Referring To Kwan – News Web Site Apologizes For Controversial Wording". The Seattle Times. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  21. ^ Brunner, Jim (October 17, 2012). "Seattle Times Co. launches ad campaigns for McKenna and gay marriage, draws criticism". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on January 20, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  22. ^ Gill, Kathy (October 22, 2012). "Seattle Times Ad Buy Leads To Newsroom, Reader Protests". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on April 13, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  23. ^ Brunner, Jim (October 18, 2012). "Seattle Times news staffers protest company's political-ad campaign". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on October 26, 2012. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  24. ^ Richman, Dan; Phuong Lee (January 26, 2006). "JOA fight between P-I, Times may heat up". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  25. ^ "The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Court sides with Seattle Times in JOA dispute"
  26. ^ Pryne, Eric (April 17, 2007). "Seattle Times, P–I reach agreement to keep both newspapers publishing". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 16, 2007.
  27. ^ "Seattle Times making move to 46-inch web". News and Tech.com, February 2008

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