The Dallas Morning News plans to close its bureau in Cuba as part of a program of staff cuts and realignment of resources, the newspaper’s editor said Thursday.
Editor Robert W. Mong Jr. said the newspaper had notified the Cuban government of its intent to close its Havana bureau. The Morning News was among a handful of U.S. media allowed to report from the the island nation ruled by Fidel Castro for the past 45 years.
“We felt that Cuba was an excellent place to be,” Mong said. “But given our new staffing levels, we felt that it was more important to have that person closer to home.”
The newspaper’s Havana-based correspondent will be reassigned to the Texas-Mexico border, Mong said. He said the transition will likely occur late this year or in early 2005.
The news comes a day after dozens of layoffs at The Morning News, Belo Corp.‘s flagship newspaper. Belo had announced last month that it would cut 250 jobs companywide. Publisher James Moroney said about 150 of those cuts would occur at The Morning News.
Belo said the layoffs were the result of flat revenues in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where it also owns a television station. Belo also has acknowledged overstating Morning News circulation and is taking a $26 million charge against earnings to compensate advertisers for the mistake.
In September 2000, The Morning News joined the Chicago Tribune and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel as the first American newspapers since the 1960s permitted by Castro’s government to operate in Cuba.
The Associated Press gained approval to return to Cuba in 1998. CNN also operates a bureau there.