The Seattle Times

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The Seattle Times
The July 4, 2006, front page of
The Seattle Times
TypeDaily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner(s) The Seattle Times Company
Publisher Frank A. Blethen
EditorMichele Matassa Flores
Founded1891;129 years ago (1891) (as Seattle Press-Times)
Headquarters1000 Denny Way
Seattle, Washington 98109
United States
Circulation 229,764 daily
336,363 Sunday
(averages for the six-month period ending March 31, 2013) [1]
ISSN 0745-9696
OCLC number 9198928

The Seattle Times is a daily newspaper serving Seattle, Washington, United States. It has the largest circulation of any newspaper in the state of Washington and in the Pacific Northwest region.


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. [2] [3] Renamed the Seattle Daily Times, it doubled its circulation within half a year. By 1915, circulation stood at 70,000.[ citation needed ]

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

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. [7] [8] The McClatchy Company owns 49.5 percent of voting common stock in the Seattle Times Company, formerly held by Knight Ridder until 2006. [9]


The Times reporting has received 11 Pulitzer Prizes, [2] most recently for its breaking news coverage of the Boeing 737 MAX groundings. [10] It has an international reputation for its investigative journalism, in particular. [11] 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. [12] 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. [13] A tenth Pulitzer Prize was awarded in 2015 for breaking news coverage of the Oso mudslide. [14]

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. [15]


Racial headline controversy

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. [16] [17] Many Asian Americans felt insulted by the Times' actions, because Michelle Kwan is also American. [18] Asian American community leaders criticized the subheadline as perpetuating a stereotype that people of color can never be truly American. [18]

The incident echoed a similar incident that happened with an MSNBC article during the Winter games in 1998, [18] which was reported on by Times. [19]

The newspaper's Executive Editor at the time of the controversy, Mike Fancher, issued an apology in the aftermath of the controversial headline. [18]

Election controversy

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

The Joint Operating Agreement

"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" Seattle Daily Times news editor quarters - 1900.jpg
"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. [23] 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. [24] 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. [25]

The JOA was terminated when the Post-Intelligencer ceased publication; its final printed edition was March 17, 2009. [6]


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

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. [26]

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  11. Outing, Steve (November 16, 2005). "Investigative Journalism: Will It Survive?". Archived from the original on October 4, 2007.
  12. "The 2012 Pulitzer Prize Winners".
  13. "The 2010 Pulitzer Prize Winners".
  14. "Seattle Times awarded Pulitzer Prize for Oso landslide coverage". The Seattle Times. April 20, 2015. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  15. Paul Henderson, Pulitzer Prize-winning Seattle Times reporter who championed the underdog, dies at 79 | The Seattle Times
  16. Chang, Iris (2003). The Chinese in America: A Narrative History. Penguin Books. ISBN   978-1-101-12687-5 . Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  17. Tewari, Nita; Alvarez, Alvin N., eds. (2009). Asian American Psychology: Current Perspectives. Taylor & Francis Group. p. 421. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  18. 1 2 3 4 Fancher, Mike (March 3, 2002). "Times won't forget readers' reminder on Kwan headline". The Seattle Times. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  19. 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.
  20. Brunner, Jim (October 17, 2012). "Seattle Times Co. launches ad campaigns for McKenna and gay marriage, draws criticism". The Seattle Times.
  21. Gill, Kathy (October 22, 2012). "Seattle Times Ad Buy Leads To Newsroom, Reader Protests". The Seattle Times.
  22. Brunner, Jim (October 18, 2012). "Seattle Times news staffers protest company's political-ad campaign". The Seattle Times.
  23. Richman, Dan; Phuong Lee (January 26, 2006). "JOA fight between P-I, Times may heat up". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  24. "The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Court sides with Seattle Times in JOA dispute"
  25. Pryne, Eric (April 17, 2007). "Seattle Times, P–I reach agreement to keep both newspapers publishing". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 16, 2007.
  26. "Seattle Times making move to 46-inch web". News and, February 2008