B’caster ZDF trims o’seas news bureaus

German pubcaster ZDF, while continuing to insist its news and information programming sets its apart from private broadcasters, has announced drastic cuts in foreign news bureaus.

The move is another in a line of budget cuts to buoy the ailing pubcaster.

ZDF expects to save 1 million marks ($ 613,000) annually.

Web’s new strategy is to pull production teams out of foreign territories — including major news centers such as Washington, Moscow and Brussels — and allow local production crews to take over. ZDF’s New York bureau will close, with a beefed-up journalistic team in Washington taking over reporting on Gotham , the United Nations and Canada.

The Athens bureau also will close.

ZDF plans to cooperate with rival pubcaster ARD in countries “where it’s technically feasible.” Web maintains that competition between the two networks in news reporting will not be affected by the decision.

ZDF recently dropped the idea of establishing a German-language all-news channel. ARD is still considering one.

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