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L.A. Times To End National Edition

By Frank Ahrens
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 3, 2004; Page E02

The Los Angeles Times is killing its printed daily national edition at the end of the year, saying the Internet and other electronic distribution channels have made the paper copy irrelevant.

The Times, owned by Chicago-based Tribune Co., prints the national edition in Baltimore and distributes it in Washington and New York. The Times would not disclose how many copies it sells or whether the edition makes money. Like the paper sold in California, the national edition is a broadsheet, but a pared-down version, focusing mainly on political news and other national stories.


The Times' Nov. 3 national edition. The paper has printed a national edition since 1998. (Los Angeles Times)

There will be no staff cuts, said Martha H. Goldstein, a Times spokeswoman.

"Over the course of time, we have found other, more cost-effective ways to reach [the East Coast] audience," she said.

National editions of major daily newspapers -- particularly weekly editions, such as The Washington Post's -- can seem increasingly stale in an era when millions can get instant news via the Internet. Every major daily paper has an Internet site that constantly is updated with breaking news. Weekly editions of a newspaper come out only as often as newsweekly magazines but do not include their fresh content. The Post's national weekly edition sells about 46,000 copies, said editor Sharon E. Scott. It charges $78 for 52 issues and makes a small profit, she said.

For the Times' Washington reporters, the national edition is a calling card for the town's power players. Not every member of Congress or other policymaker sees the Times' Web site on a daily basis, but the printed national edition is delivered to their offices.

The Times began publishing a Washington edition in 1992. It was shut down briefly in 1995, as the newspaper's then-parent company, Times Mirror Co., went through massive budget cuts that included closing New York Newsday. The Washington edition, reinstated later in 1995, was expanded into a national edition in 1998. Tribune Co. purchased the Los Angeles-based Times Mirror in 2000 for $8 billion.


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