The ‘Globe’ No Longer Spanning: To Close Foreign Bureaus

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By: E&P Staff and The Associated Press

The Boston Globe will close its three remaining international bureaus in Jerusalem, Berlin and Bogota, Colombia, the newspaper announced Tuesday.

The move, detailed in a memo to staff from the newspaper’s editor, Martin Baron, comes after the Globe’s parent company, The New York Times Co., announced earlier this month that it would eliminate about 125 positions through buyouts and other steps at the Globe and the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester.

Baron said the four people who work in the bureaus would be offered positions in Boston.

“Continuing to bear the expense of our foreign bureaus would have required us to reduce staffing by a dozen or so positions beyond those already announced,” Baron wrote. “We concluded that it would be unwise to meet the newsroom’s financial targets by making additional staff reductions.”

Al Larkin, the Globe’s executive vice president, said the closures would save the company more than $1 million annually. The paper would continue to send reporters overseas for special projects and breaking news, but wanted to reduce the overhead in maintaining the bureaus, he said.

Larkin said the closures, expected to be completed in the next couple of months, were a response to decreased circulation and advertising revenue.

“I think that we’re going to continue to look at operating our entire organization as efficiently as we can,” Larkin said. “I don’t anticipate any (other) major changes, particularly in our newsroom.”

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In a memo, first posted on the Romensko Web site, Baron said that the New York Times Co.-owned paper will shutter bureaus in Jerusalem, Berlin, and Bogata. The paper’s four overseas staffers — Middle East correspondents Thannasis Cambanis and Anne Bernard, Indira Lakshmanan in Central America, and Colin Nickerson in Europe — will now be offered Boston-based jobs. The first Globe overseas bureau was opened in the mid-1970s. He said that the move would help the paper avoid cutting other newsroom jobs.

“Continuing to bear the expense of our foreign bureaus would have required us to reduce staffing by a dozen or so positions beyond those already announced,” said Baron in the memo. “We concluded that it would be unwise to meet the newsroom?s financial targets by making additional staff reductions.”

Baron praised the paper’s past correspondents, saying that they often put their lives in danger in service of the paper, calling them “brave beyond measure,” but he noted that other papers have recently had to make similarly hard decisions to shut foreign bureaus.

“Our decision came only after a careful review by the publisher of various options that would allow us to stay within budget,” he said. “All along, a guiding principle was to secure the resources required for local coverage and for journalism that has the most direct impact on our readers.”

Baron said the newspaper will continue to send reporters to other countries for special projects and major events.

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