- The Washington Times - Friday, March 13, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - The newspaper and television company Media General Inc. will shutter its Washington bureau at the end of the month, trimming an additional six reporters from the dwindling pool of journalists in the nation’s capital.

The Richmond, Va.-based company, which publishes the Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune and other newspapers and owns 19 television stations, said Friday it has offered severance packages to all of the Washington-based reporters in its Media General News Service.

The 30-year-old bureau was reorganized last year to focus more on producing Web content in a shifting media environment, but the changes were not enough to keep the office open past March 27 amid plunging ad revenue that has forced the company to further reduce expenses.

“Even with the strong efforts of our bureau staff to adapt to the challenging economic times, it was not enough,” Graham Woodlief, head of the company’s publishing division, said in a statement.

With some exceptions, regional newspapers have pulled back significantly from Washington coverage over the past few years, prioritizing local reporting.

Newhouse News Service, which acted as the Washington bureau for New York-based Advance Publications Inc., publisher of 26 daily newspapers, closed its capital office last year after the presidential election. Other newspaper chains have consolidated or shrunk their bureaus to save on costs.

Media General, which last month announced 10-day unpaid furloughs for all employees, saw shares tumble 38 cents, or 17.4 percent, to close at $1.81 Friday.

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