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Disappearing bureaus, disappearing sections at New York Times

New York Times Cutting Local News Sections

New York Times Cutting Local News Sections

On Friday, the New York Times announced the demise of several local news sections, which begs the question – is the “New York” in the New York Times slowly diminishing?

Those that bit the dust in the paper’s latest cost-cutting attempts include the City Weekly, New Jersey, Connecticut, Westchester and Long Island regional sections, as well as the New York report pages. To fill the gaping local news hole, the paper launched Metropolitan on May 24, a Sunday section containing news of the city, as well as reviews and listings devoted to the surrounding regional areas. “Even as we are making difficult choices in a difficult economy, the new Sunday section continues our commitment to unmatched local coverage,” said Times’ metro editor Joe Sexton in a statement.

This recent announcement comes as no surprise: the phones at the paper’s suburban bureaus have been ringing to empty offices for months.

In November, the inVocus research team spoke with the paper’s metro desk and several NYT staff members previously stationed at the different offices. It was confirmed that the newspaper’s suburban bureaus had closed their doors and most of the staff had relocated to either the paper’s main headquarters, or to other active bureaus in the city. The closed bureaus include the Long Island and White Plains offices in New York, the Newark and Trenton bureaus in New Jersey, and the Hartford bureau in Connecticut.

Back in March, executive editor Bill Keller told staffers in an address to the Times’ newsroom that features would have to be cut and that sacrifices would have to be made. “We are looking at ways to re-imagine our Sunday coverage of the region – which is now spread out among New York news pages, the City Weekly and the Regionals.” Keller’s announcement came on the heels of the paper’s elimination of 100 positions in the business department and a temporary 5 percent pay cut for non-union employees. Keller said the section reductions were an attempt to stave off more newsroom layoffs.

New York Times officials did not respond to repeated requests for interviews during the last several months.

–Katrina M. Randall

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