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VRT closes news bureaux in Washington and Beijing

11:00 07/02/2014

The Flemish public broadcaster VRT is closing its permanent news bureaux in Washington, DC, and in Beijing from next year, switching to the use of “pop-up correspondents” instead, the organisation announced yesterday. The broadcaster said that the change was part of a plan to extend international news coverage, with more reports from more locations.

“VRT wants to be able to react to what goes on in the world in a more flexible manner and be able to send reporters for longer periods to the world’s news hotspots,” a spokesperson said. “If the fires are burning in Cairo, VRT News will spend more time there. If the pressure is rising in Russia, the news service will be able to be there for a longer period of time.”

The news service will, for example, spend at least a month in Brazil during World Cup this summer, not only to cover the event but also to “tell deeper stories from the heart of society”.

“The world is changing at a rapid pace, and political and economic challenges are now global in scale,” said editor-in-chief Luc Rademakers (pictured). “So the VRT needs to be able to put up its tent in more places at one time, with foreign expertise from a variety of angles and countries, making our coverage more mobile. The goal is to make our coverage more varied and more balanced, with more attention paid to the less-reported corners of the world, such as Latin America and Northern Europe.”

Funds saved by closing the China and US bureaux will go to help finance correspondent travel, but the two countries will continue to receive the news service’s full attention, said Rademakers.

photo by Nathalie Dolmans / VRT

Written by Alan Hope