120th anniversary message to the community from Publisher Frank Blethen

For Immediate Release — Jan. 22, 2016
Lindsay Taylor, Consumer Marketing Manager

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Welcome to Greater Seattle’s future of robust independent journalism and public service. A positive future few other cities in America will experience.

Your Seattle Times is an anomaly in this era of dangerous media consolidation and information control. Content, from creation through distribution and access, is today mostly in the hands of mega corporations and faceless Wall Street investor types.

For 120 years - five generations, The Seattle Times has been, and remains, a family business based on Stewardship, Journalism, Public Service and Community. To celebrate this anniversary milestone we are renewing our commitment as your independent trusted voice and source of information.

Fifteen years ago technology and demographics began to change the newspaper business model. At the end of 2008, the financial system collapse and subsequent Great Recession propelled The Seattle Times into the most challenging period of our history.

The Blethen family’s response was to sell our non-newspaper assets and invest the $170 million of proceeds into The Seattle Times. We did this for two purposes. To sustain our mission of quality, relevant content and excellent delivery service in print and digitally. And, to nurture our unfolding digital future.

Our printed newspaper and our multiple digital products are very strong. Paid print Seattle Times Sunday is a robust 249,335, with cumulative average readership of 1,196,000. Digitally, we average 7,271,589 monthly unique visitors, with an average of 31,753,203 monthly pageviews.

By continuing to invest in your Seattle Times, we have become the second largest newspaper on the West Coast.

Our website,, has always been the largest and most visited news and information site in the state. We are the only one with a significant digital subscriber revenue stream.

While digital first is our future, print is our transformation foundation, providing 80 percent of our revenue with its strong advertiser base and vibrant paid reader base.


Journalism and Public Service

During our most challenging economic moments the family doubled-down on journalism and public service. There are many examples, including three Pulitzer Prizes since 2010 (ten total). However, we are most proud of our investment in public education.

In September 2009 we created The Greater Good Campaign to stop the defunding of the University of Washington and our state’s higher education system. (In addition to the Blethen family, sponsors included Rowley Properties, Boeing, Microsoft, Safeco, Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP and the Bellevue Collection.)

In September 2012, The Times’ Opinion section kicked-off our “3 to 23†education initiative. Helping to establish that public education is a system from early learning through K-12 and an advanced degree or professional certificate. Each part must be well-funded, high-quality and accessible to all.

In 2013 we began the nationally unique and cutting edge Education Lab. Ed Lab’s purpose has been to provide an unprecedented level of education coverage and analysis, and to create new forms of community engagement and discussion about education. The project focuses on solutions. In addition to community engagement, the reporting focus is on solutions. Finding and telling stories which make a difference, from the dramatic turnaround at Rainier Beach and Foster high schools to transforming the way our schools handle suspension and discipline.

Ed Lab has been the most powerful journalism and community service The Seattle Times has ever provided the community. (Ed Lab has been funded by the Gates Foundation, Solutions Journalism and the Knight Foundation).

This month we will launch our The Greater Good II Campaign, a public service campaign dedicated to fixing our K-12 public schools. Both the inequity of funding and the unacceptable outcomes as measured by college/work-ready graduation rates. As reported in our recent Ed Lab story on Foster High School, only 77.2 percent of our children graduate from high school and, shockingly, less than 20 percent of those who do graduate are college-ready or work-ready.

As part of our 120th Anniversary Celebration, each month throughout the year we will follow up this message with insights and thoughts from other members of The Seattle Times family.

This is an exciting period of change and evolution. A robust independent press is the foundation our country was built on. It is the key to self-government and healthy communities. On behalf of my family and our colleagues, I pledge to you we will make sure Greater Seattle keeps the rare gift of a robust independent news and information company for decades to come.

Keep an eye on us in 2016 – we are On The Move!


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Frank A. Blethen
The Seattle Times


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