The San Diego Union-Tribune just became the latest newspaper to shutter its D.C. office. The recent spate of bureau closings strikes a major blow for political coverage, but it is also a warning about newspaper survival in the digital age.
When the Washington-based Newhouse News Service announced last month it would shut down after Election Day, the Associated Press described it as a "supplemental wire service," a technically correct term that nevertheless conjured up images of something journalistically superfluous, like Sunday-newspaper advertising supplements. In fact, not so long ago, Newhouse's output was a great and diverse read. NNS was a national platform for the Newhouse newspaper chain. It was the home for a dozen individual papers' Washington correspondents, who produced often deep district-by-district coverage of Congress and federal agencies.