Statement: Three mayors ask Tribune to keep The Virginian-Pilot on the Southside

Ed. — The following is a statement released by Mayors Kenny Alexander of Norfolk, Bobby Dyer of Virginia Beach and Rick West of Chesapeake on Monday, Feb. 24, in response to the announcement that Tribune Publishing will move The Virginian-Pilot newsroom out of its historic home in Norfolk to the Peninsula offices of The Daily Press. It has been lightly edited for style. This was archived on Wednesday, March 25.

Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander, Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer and Chesapeake Mayor Rick West are saddened and dismayed by Tribune Publishing’s decision to move The Virginian-Pilot newsroom from Norfolk to the Daily Press offices in Newport News and urge Tribune to reconsider its decision.

The Virginian-Pilot has called Norfolk home since 1937 and this move will hurt the daily news coverage for the most populous areas of the region,” Alexander said. “Awareness of the actions of local government and the local politics driving those actions is crucial to a connected, informed and involved citizenry. Without a local newspaper connected to our community, informed citizen participation in local government will suffer.”

 The Virginian-Pilot has been a driving force for transparency and change in government, and now that reporters will be based across the water, it will be harder for reporters to do the job that residents need them to do,’ Dyer said. “We need our local newspaper to stay local.”

“As much as technology is changing the world, news reporting for local government still needs local reporters writing local stories,” West said.  “With the cuts The Virginian-Pilot has already endured, local coverage has been shrinking.  I fear it will all but disappear with the newspaper leaving South Hampton Roads.”

Tribune Publishing has rolled out many cost-cutting measures since acquiring The Virginian-Pilot in 2018. The mayors hope that Tribune revisits its decision and retains a newsroom in South Hampton Roads to keep local reporters local and demonstrate its commitment to local news.

“Government should embrace an engaged and educated public,” Dyer added.  “A local newspaper with local reporters is critical to that mission.”

© 2020 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

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