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Scripps, Fox TV Strike Local News Partnership in Three Markets

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What was formerly unprecedented in the local TV news business (TV groups partnering to gather news), is fast becoming standard practice in today's rocky economy. On Wednesday (April 1), Fox Television Stations and The E.W. Scripps Company announced they have created a local news service for their stations in Detroit, Phoenix and Tampa.

Beginning this month, the two sets of stations will begin pooling content-gathering resources at general market events, while continuing to operate independently in all other respects.

With 2009 forecasts calling for revenue declines between 15 percent and 20 percent, TV stations are taking a number of measures to save costs and cut expenses. Last summer Fox and NBC Local Media began pooling some of their news operations in Philadelphia in an experiment that led to the formation last fall of a Local News Service in five additional markets where both own stations.

"We are pleased to be working with Scripps, a company that faces reality, makes quick decisions and understands what it takes to keep local television robust and independent," said Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations.

With the Scripps partnership, Fox owned-and-operated stations now have partnerships in nine of its 16 markets and is seeking out partnerships for the others.

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