Save the P-I or save Zippy the Pinhead?

What really gets readers where they live.

By Eric Scigliano February 9, 2009

Each month Glenn Drosendahl, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s reader representative, sends an internal memo informing staff of readers’ complaints and concerns. Last week he had such big news an insider leaked it to Seattle Met: Two events in the same month had drawn near-record responses. On January 5 the P-I dropped Zippy the Pinhead, an island of surreal absurdism on the comics page, to make room for another strip. On January 9 it announced it would stop publishing unless a buyer appeared to take it off the Hearst Corporation’s hands. As Drosendahl wrote:

Comics and the P-I being for sale dominated feedback. The result was the second busiest month in the eight years of keeping these totals. Although passions on both topics ran high, complaints about the removal of "Zippy the Pinhead" slightly outnumbered comments about the possible closure of the P-I.

To be precise, Drosendahl told Seattle Met, Zippy’s disappearance drew about 100 comments; the P-I’s imminent disappearance drew about 95. "That’s kind of humbling, isn’t it?"

But newspaper stalwarts can take heart. Since then, says Drosendahl, "the comics thing has calmed down, and we have a lot of people asking what they can do to save the P-I."

"Zippy the Pinhead" is still off the comics page, though it continues on the P-I’s website. The P-I itself has one more month to go in print. Its online fate remains uncertain.

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