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Originally published April 17, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified April 17, 2007 at 2:02 AM

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Seattle JOA timeline

1981 Jan. 13: The Seattle Times Co. and The Hearst Corp., owner of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, announce an agreement in principle to...


Jan. 13: The Seattle Times Co. and The Hearst Corp., owner of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, announce an agreement in principle to form a joint-operating agreement (JOA) under the federal Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970.


May 23: The Times and the P-I begin operating under the JOA.


Feb. 2: The Times Co. announces it and Hearst have revised the JOA. Among other things, the revised agreement allows The Times to move from afternoon to morning publication and hands Hearst a larger share of the two papers' pooled advertising and circulation revenue.


March 6: The Times begins publishing in the morning.


April 28: Hearst files suit in King County Superior Court to block The Times Co. from taking actions that could close the P-I or end the JOA.

April 29: The Times Co. formally notifies Hearst that The Times lost money under the JOA in 2000, 2001 and 2002. That opens the way for The Times to invoke an escape clause in the JOA that allows either party to move to close one paper or end the JOA within 18 months.

June 6: The U.S. Department of Justice discloses it is investigating the Seattle JOA and issues surrounding it.


July 1: A citizens group, the Committee for a Two-Newspaper Town, says it will try to intervene in the case. It has support from the local newspaper-workers union.

July 14: Superior Court Judge Greg Canova allows the committee to intervene.

July 16: Hearst tells Canova it is putting the P-I up for sale if proceedings don't speed up.

Sept. 12: Canova hears arguments on one part of Hearst's suit: that The Times' claimed losses for 2000 and 2001 resulted from an extraordinary event -- a newspaper strike -- and should be disallowed.

Sept. 25: Canova rules The Times' loss claims are invalid under the JOA, which means the company cannot invoke the escape clause.

Oct. 3: Hearst tells P-I staff members that the paper is no longer for sale.

Oct. 7: The Times appeals Canova's decision to the state Court of Appeals.


Feb. 4: Times officials say the newspaper lost money under the JOA in 2003 -- the fourth consecutive year of losses.

March 22: Three-judge Appeals Court panel rules in favor of The Times, sending the case back to the lower court with orders to reverse Canova's September decision.

April 19: Hearst appeals the ruling to the State Supreme Court.


May 13: Justice Department says it is ending a two-year investigation of the JOA. In its statement, the department says it didn't find enough evidence to pursue antitrust action against The Times Co.

June 30: The State Supreme Court unanimously upholds the Appeals Court, allowing The Times Co. to claim financial losses in 2000 and 2001.

Sept. 29: The Times Co. notifies Hearst that The Times recorded financial losses in 2002, 2003 and 2004.


March 29: The Times Co. issues Hearst another loss notice, this one for 2003, 2004 and 2005.

March 30: The Times Co. and Hearst say they have agreed to settle the dispute by binding arbitration, with a decision to be made by May 31, 2007.

May 6: The local newspaper union votes to cut off financial support for the Committee for a Two-Newspaper Town.


Feb. 20: The committee files a motion asking Judge Canova to rule parts of the 1999 JOA revision unconstitutional.

March 7: Canova rejects a committee attempt to have a ruling on its motion before the arbitrator's decision.

April 6: The Times Co. and Hearst say the arbitration hearing, set to begin April 9, has been postponed a week.

April 16: Agreement is announced.

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