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Originally published Saturday, January 10, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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Seattle Post-Intelligencer: a brief history

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has survived strikes, the Great Depression, new owners and several name changes to become one of the most prominent news sources in the Northwest.

Seattle Times reporter

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has survived strikes, the Great Depression, new owners and several name changes to become one of the most prominent news sources in the Northwest.

The P-I, the longest-lived newspaper in Seattle, has DNA tracing back to 1863, when James Watson started publishing the four-page weekly, The Seattle Gazette.

The Gazette changed hands "half a dozen times" before being bought in 1867 by Samuel Maxwell for $300, according to the history, "A Century of Seattle Business."

Maxwell changed its name to the Weekly Intelligencer. The paper became a daily in 1876 and took its modern name in 1881 when it bought its competitor, the Post.

William Randolph Hearst bought the paper in 1921. Eventually, the Post-Intelligencer emerged as one of the city's two surviving daily newspapers, along with The Seattle Times.

The paper has had a turbulent relationship with The Times. It entered into a joint operating agreement in 1983, enabling the two papers to consolidate business operations under Times ownership while maintaining competing newsrooms and editorial pages.

In 2003, a legal war broke out when the Blethen family, owners of The Times since 1896, sought to get out of the agreement. At one point, Hearst announced the P-I was for sale, only to rescind that less than two months later.

The two sides reached a financial settlement in 2007 that allowed both newspapers to continue under the agreement.

The P-I has won two Pulitzer Prizes, journalism's most coveted award. Both went to current editorial cartoonist David Horsey.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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