Bloomberg News

Chicago Tribune to Close Rome Bureau, Trim Jerusalem

February 13, 2009

Chicago Tribune, the flagship newspaper of bankrupt Tribune Co., said it would close its Rome bureau and reduce the number of employees in Jerusalem as part of a previously announced plan to lower expenses.

The newspaper cut 20 jobs, including the foreign positions, according to a memo sent to workers yesterday by Editor Gerould Kern. The newspaper will share reporting duties in Israel with Tribune Co.’s Los Angeles Times, he said.

“We must right-size the company in response to current economic realities and to prepare for the future,” Kern said in the memo. Chicago Tribune lists about 500 editorial staff on its Web site.

Tribune Co. is eliminating jobs, selling assets and sharing content to help overcome record print-advertising declines. The Chicago-based publisher is in talks to sell its Cubs baseball team and Wrigley Field stadium.

Gary Weitman, a Tribune Co. spokesman, declined to comment.

In a note to employees last week, Chicago Tribune publisher Tony Hunter said the newspaper would halt merit pay increases this year and eliminate open positions to help stem a decline in revenue.

Tribune’s Baltimore Sun newspaper told staff yesterday it is planning to close three of its suburban bureaus, according to spokeswoman Renee Mutchnik. Reporters will work from Sun headquarters in downtown Baltimore or from home computers.

Also to help reduce costs, Tribune’s Sun-Sentinel newspaper in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, will begin publishing its front section using stories from the Chicago Tribune, according to two people who attended a meeting where the plan was announced.

Tribune filed for bankruptcy in December, a year after billionaire Sam Zell and a group of investors took it private in a deal that saddled the company with about $13 billion in debt.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Bensinger in New York at gbensinger1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jennifer Sondag at jsondag@bloomberg.net


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