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Tribune to close 2 bureau offices, combine others

Tampa Tribune executives disclosed Monday that they will eliminate news operations in two counties, consolidate four bureaus and open a Clearwater bureau as part of a "strategic fine-tuning."

No jobs will be lost in the reshuffling, they said.

"We're taking a look at our expenses like every newspaper in America, I would hope," said Jack Butcher, Tribune vice president and general manager. "We're consolidating where we can."

In Richmond, Va., Graham Woodlief, vice president of newspaper operations for the Tribune's parent company, Media General, said executives at papers throughout the chain were told to evaluate their revenue for 1993 because of an advertising slump.

Among the changes locally, the newspaper will close news bureaus in Marion and Alachua counties. The Tribune will continue to sell newspapers in those counties but probably will not offer zoned local sections after Jan. 1, Butcher said.

A memo given to Tribune staffers Monday said the newspaper's editorial pages, which were moved into the regional sections last year, will be moved back to the front section. Butcher would not comment on the move.

The newspaper plans to close at least four bureaus over the next 12 to 18 months. Butcher said the staff now assigned to those offices will move to existing office space.

The Lake Wales office, which is "just an alcove downtown," will close and the staff will be reassigned to a company-owned office in Winter Haven.

The Arcadia office also will close, and the staff will move to Sebring.

The Largo office will be closed at the end of the year, when the lease expires, and the newspaper plans to open a new office in Clearwater on Oct. 15.

In New Port Richey, the staff will be reassigned to a Tribune-owned building that is home to Sunbelt Publications, Butcher said.

In other changes, the Tribune will begin combining its Brandon and South Bay local sections on Sunday. Butcher said 90 percent of advertisers place ads in both east Hillsborough sections, making it more cost-effective to combine the editions.

The North Pinellas and Clearwater sections also will be combined this week.

_ MARTY ROSEN

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