WP decides against renewing leases on suburban bureaus

Romenesko+ Memos

[UPDATE: Washington Post editors have put out a memo, too.] This was posted today on the closed, invite-only Washington Post Guild Facebook page. The message is from the newsroom’s Guild rep, Fredrick Kunkle:

Friends,

As some of you have probably heard already — and as has been rumored for some time — the Post has decided to shut down all of its regional bureaus except those in the state capitals of Virginia and Maryland.

Vernon [Loeb, local editor], in a telephone conversation a little while ago, said that the Post’s leases on suburban bureaus will not be renewed after they expire, beginning in 2012, except in Richmond and Annapolis, which he said will “never” close.

Vernon also says that although this is obviously another sign of the Post’s effort to grapple with the economy and the radical changes in the media business, the closure of the physical buildings does not mean that the Post will reduce its local coverage.

He emphasized that the Post remains committed to covering our region as aggressively as possible. To that end, he said he will also do everything in his power to use some of the savings from the closure of the bureaus to invest in better mobile technology for reporters.

We’ll try to update you further as we hear more.

Please remember as we head into this Labor Day weekend that more than ever, tough times require a strong union, and we are only as strong as you are. As the Post continues to shrink, the Guild needs every person it can to become a dues-payiing member.

Best,

Freddy

* @WaPoOmbudsman: “Checking on report that Post is closing regional MD and VA bureaus, except Richmond and Annapolis. Cost cutting. More later.”

* @AmyEGardner: “A sad day at The Washington Post, w/news that we’re closing all of our local bureaus except Richmond, Annapolis.”

We have made it easy to comment on posts, however we require civility and encourage full names to that end (first initial, last name is OK). Please read our guidelines here before commenting.

  • MM

    I wonder if the Post is doing this in anticipation of the eventual migration of Legal Notices to the web. The speed with which classified advertising moved to Craig’s List caught many newspapers by surprise. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5300451 Ryan Holeywell

    They say “the closure of the physical buildings does not mean that the Post will reduce its local coverage.” I’m going to take this at face value and assume this means those reporters will still be in the suburbs, covering those regions (a big assumption). If that’s the case, does this mean that everyone will be working from home? Or in their cars? If that’s the case, it’s kind of pathetic that the reporters will have to essentially be giving in-kind contributions of “office” space to their employer. I guess it also means that the only people covering those communities will be reporters who want to live there.

  • Anonymous

    You have got to be kidding.  We already have a USA Today, and don’t need another similar type news media.  We need to have boots on the ground to do the reporting, unless we are going to be reading Washington Post I-Reports.