Also: Newhouse shutting down wire service
Some are calling 2008 the worst year ever for newspapers, citing declines in ad revenues.
Like many newspapers this year, the Birmingham News is trimming its operations by offering buyouts and early retirement to employees:
The Birmingham News Co. is offering voluntary buyouts or early retirement to a limited number of employees, Publisher Victor Hanson III said Friday. The issue is revenue, not readership, Hanson stressed. “Our readership is as high as it has been since 2004, and our online home at al.com is the most-visited local Web site in Alabama,” he said. The number of buyouts will depend on how many employees accept the offer, he said, but it will be limited by department and job category to protect the essential missions of the newspaper to inform and serve the community.
Meanwhile, Newhouse News Service is shutting down after Election Day.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Newhouse News Service, a supplemental wire service founded in 1961, will close on Nov. 7, after the election.
The news service is also the Washington bureau of Advance Publications Inc. of New York, which owns 26 daily newspapers.
“The decision to close followed the direction of our clients, the editors of our papers,” said Linda Fibich, editor and Washington bureau chief. “They felt they could not afford to pay for a central Washington bureau at a time when they were steering all available resources to local coverage back at home.”
The news service has 24 employees. Of those, 11 are reporters who write for specific newspapers and “are being offered opportunities to join the staffs of those newspapers,” Fibich said. “Whether the individual papers maintain a presence in Washington is up to each individual paper.”
Advance Publications owns both the wire service and the Birmingham News. Fortunately, Washington correspondent Mary Orndorff will continue her beat for the News, even as NNS folds.