Thursday, January 15, 2009

Newspapers Move to Outsource Foreign Coverage

Editor's note: A major restructuring is underway in how foreign news is being collected and disseminated.

The Wall Street Journal - Two major newspapers publishers are taking steps to outsource international coverage, as falling revenue is causing more U.S. papers to shrink their foreign and national footprint.

Tribune Co., which owns the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, is in talks with the Washington Post Co. about a deal to pay the Post for foreign and national coverage for Tribune's eight major dailies. Meantime, the New York Daily News has reached an agreement with a Boston-based start-up called GlobalPost to use the company's network of part-time foreign correspondents.

Together, the agreements could substantially overhaul the foreign news operations of three of the 10 largest U.S. newspapers.

Talks between Tribune and the Post Co. have been under way for more than a month, but no agreement has been reached, according to people familiar with the matter. One possibility is that Tribune's eight major dailies could close dozens of news bureaus, in favor of publishing the Washington Post's stories from areas where Tribune doesn't have operations.

Such a deal could save Tribune millions of dollars a year at a time when the company is operating in bankruptcy protection. It is possible no deal will be reached, or that Tribune and the Washington Post could reach a looser collaboration on news, these people said.

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