Tribune to Shutter Foreign Bureaus of Two Papers


The Tribune Co., which owns Long Island’s Newsday, is restructuring its foreign bureaus, moving to have reporters write for its entire chain and curbing a tradition of each paper staffing an international post.

The (Baltimore) Sun will close its South Africa and Moscow bureaus within 18 months, Editor Tim Franklin said Thursday. He said dramatic industry changes — led by the availability of international news online — had sparked the restructuring of overseas coverage.

“In part, it’s a reflection of economics, and in part it’s a reflection of the changing media environment that we’re in,” Franklin said.

The Sun is owned by Chicago-based Tribune, which also owns several other large newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.

The changes also affect the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. In a memo to staff Thursday, Newsday Editor John Mancini said the paper’s bureaus in Beirut, Lebanon, and Islamabad, Pakistan, will not be staffed after the scheduled terms of reporters Mohamad Bazzi and Jim Rupertend end over the next two years.

“The Tribune-wide staffing changes will not reduce our commitment to providing an enterprising foreign report,” Mancini wrote.

The Sun’s Jerusalem bureau will remain, but it will join a new Tribune network of foreign correspondents by January 2008.

Franklin said The Sun will continue to send reporters overseas with a focus on detailed projects. He also said that The Sun will be able to request specific stories from Tribune staff and that the newspaper won’t cut the space devoted to foreign news.

The decision to close the two Sun offices, which each has a journalist, comes less than a year after the newspaper said it would shutter offices in London and Beijing to cut costs.

Gerould Kern, vice president of editorial for the Tribune Co., said the changes were part of a company plan to better coordinate resources. He said all Tribune newspapers will receive a daily report on what the company’s reporters are working on from international and national posts.

“What we’re hoping to do with this is create this great foundation for a daily news report and encourage enterprise and project reporting for newspapers,” Kern said.

Sun Foreign Editor Robert Ruby described his paper’s loss of its own correspondents as “a very sad development for the newspaper.”

John Morton, a newspaper industry analyst in Silver Spring, said eliminating foreign offices reflects a national trend in journalism.

“American journalism has become more and more focused on local coverage because that’s where the money is,” he said.

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