Media General closing Washington bureau


The newspapers, television stations and Internet sites of Media General will no longer have their own staff of reporters working in the Nation’s Capital. The company says its Media General News Service Bureau in Washington, DC will close March 27th.

“We very much regret having to take this step,” said Graham Woodlief, President of the Publishing Division. “However, as the economy continues to contract, and businesses and consumers continue to reduce spending, our advertising revenues have been adversely affected at unprecedented levels. While the Publishing Division reduced expenses in 2008 by 8 percent, excluding severance, we must continue to find ways to align our costs with the available revenue,” he said.

The Washington Bureau employs six journalists, all of whom have been offered severance packages.

Former Washington Bureau Chief John Hall, who retired in 2006, created the bureau in 1979 and expanded its staff and coverage. Marsha Mercer has served as bureau chief since 2003.

“Even with the strong efforts of our bureau staff to adapt to the challenging economic times, it was not enough. I thank Marsha Mercer and her team for their fine work and dedication, and I salute all the excellent journalists who have worked in the bureau over the years. The decision to close our bureau is very difficult, and parting with these valued journalists is even more painful in light of the strong contributions they have made to our communities,” said Woodlief.