augusta free press news

More bad news at Media General

More bad news on the news-media front. Media General announced last week that it is closing its Washington, D.C., news bureau on March 27.
“We very much regret having to take this step,” said Graham Woodlief, president of the Publishing Division at Media General, the parent company of The News Virginian in Waynesboro.

“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,” Woodlief said.

The Media General News Service Bureau in Washington employs six journalists. All six have been offered severance packages.

The bureau provides news and feature stories to Media General newspapers, television stations and websites. Last year, the bureau was revamped to take a webfirst approach to reporting with the launch of a website featuring sections dedicated to each of the 10 states in which Media General owns media operations.

“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,” Woodlief said.


Story by Chris Graham