WASHINGTON — The Washington Post and The (Baltimore) Sun, facing cost pressures as advertising revenue continues to sink, said Tuesday that they will share some stories, photos and news content starting next year.
The two newspapers said they will exchange some of their daily Maryland news and sports articles and may tap into stories that each company gives to the LAT-WP News Service.
The companies said the agreement will allow them to benefit from each other's areas of expertise, with The Washington Post harnessing the Sun's regional coverage and the Baltimore paper tapping the Post's federal government coverage.
The newspaper sector has been squeezed as readers and advertisers continually move to the Internet, with the economic downturn further worsening its struggles. Content-sharing partnerships represent one approach newspapers across the country have been using to retain or expand coverage while trimming staff.
Robert McCartney, assistant managing editor for metropolitan news at The Washington Post, said the two newspapers will be able to publish each other's stories online, but only after the story has appeared in print in the originating newspaper.
Exclusive stories and articles on competitive topics, such as Maryland state government and University of Maryland athletics, typically won't be shared, nor does the agreement extend to the Post's coverage of Virginia and Washington, D.C.
The Post is the nation's seventh-highest selling newspaper with an average weekday circulation of 622,714. The Sun's weekday circulation is 218,923. The two papers have some overlapping territory in Washington's Maryland suburbs.
The Washington Post Co., whose properties also include Newsweek magazine and the Kaplan academic testing service, has seen its earnings performance tumble recently. In October the newspaper publisher reported third-quarter profit plunged 86 percent.
Shares of Washington Post fell $7.60, or 2 percent, to close at $376.50 Tuesday. The stock has traded from $320 to $823.30 over the past year.
The Sun is owned by Tribune Co., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month as the parent company struggles with about $13 billion in debt, most of it stemming from a complex transaction real estate mogul Sam Zell orchestrated a year ago to take the company private.