UPDATED: ‘Washington Post’ to Close Three Major Bureaus

By: E&P Staff

In a move that Howard Kurtz called “a significant retrenchment” in Wednesday’s edition, The Washington Post will shutter its bureaus in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles at the end of 2009.

The three bureaus included six correspondents, who will be offered new assignments in Washington. They are Keith B. Richburg, Barton Gellman and Tomoeh Murakami Tse in New York; Peter Slevin in Chicago; and Karl Vick and television columnist Lisa de Moraes in Los Angeles.

The bureau’s other staffers — three news assistants — will no longer have jobs.

Kurtz’s story, which unflinchingly dissected the Post’s strategy, stated that “The money-saving moves, coming on the heels of four rounds of early-retirement buyouts and the closing or merging of several sections, are the clearest sign yet of the newspaper’s shrinking horizons in an era of diminished resources.”

Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli was in New York Tuesday to deliver the news personally. In the past 10 years, the Post also maintained bureaus in Austin, Denver and Miami, all of which have since been closed.

?At a time of limited resources and increased competitive pressure, it’s necessary to concentrate our journalistic firepower on our central mission of covering Washington and the news, trends and ideas that shape both the region and the country?s politics, policies and government,? Brauchli wrote in a staff memo.

The memo, first obtained by Politico, follows:

Subject: A Message from Marcus

To the Staff:

Today we have informed our news colleagues in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles that we are closing the offices in those cities, effective Dec. 31.

The reporters in those bureaus are being offered new roles here in Washington. Regretfully, the three news aides, who have been dedicated colleagues and are friends of many here, will be let go.

At a time of limited resources and increased competitive pressure, it’s necessary to concentrate our journalistic firepower on our central mission of covering Washington and the news, trends and ideas that shape both the region and the country?s politics, policies and government.

We will continue to cover events around the country as we have for decades, by sending reporters into the field. We have a strong tradition of bringing understanding and authority to our coverage of politics and issues that matter, wherever the stories take us. The evidence is visible daily in The Post: our deeply reported narrative series on the human consequences of the economic downturn; our insightful coverage of the healthcare debate, from the efficient hallways of the Mayo Clinic to the raucous townhalls of last August; even the ongoing coverage of the Ft. Hood shootings or the impending 2010 midterm campaigns.

Our commitment to national news of interest to our readers is undiminished, and we will maintain the level and caliber of coverage our readers expect.



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