Cox Newspapers to Shutter D.C. News Bureau

Cox Newspapers announced Tuesday morning its plans to close its Washington, D.C.-based national and international news bureau on April 1, 2009.

This follows Cox’s earlier announcement to offer its newspaper operations in Texas, North Carolina and Colorado for sale.

Cox’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Dayton Daily News will manage their own Washington and international newsgathering via those papers’ D.C. correspondents. Eligible employees of the bureau will be offered severance packages and will keep their jobs through March 31, 2009.

Cox Television, another subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, will continue to operate its own Washington broadcasting news bureau.

“The Washington news bureau and its chief, Andy Alexander, have an impressive and storied history in Washington and in our company,” Sandy Schwartz, Cox Newspapers’ president, said in a statement. “For more than 30 years, the reporters of this bureau have broken an untold number of stories that have had an impact on the lives of our readers in cities and towns all across the U.S. The Cox Washington bureau has won or shared virtually every major American journalism award, including the Pulitzer Prize.”

In addition, Bureau Chief Andy Alexander will retire from Cox at the end of 2008. During his career, Alexander has reported from more than 50 countries and covered armed conflicts in Vietnam, Angola, Iran and Iraq. He has won or shared in the Raymond Clapper award for distinguished Washington correspondence, the Global Media Award, the Thomas L. Stokes award for environmental reporting, the Ohio Associated Press award for investigative reporting (twice), and the Ohio Associated Press award for feature writing.