Stephens, Allbritton Make Cuts at Vegas Paper, TBD.com

Gutted.

Two media operations with major Arkansas connections are making moves this week, slashing and cutting away at their respective news operations. And this time, both print and online are taking hits:

First, hat-tip to the Arkansas Times for this note: Stephens Media, controlled by Little Rock financier Warren Stephens, is cutting its investigative journalism unit at its flagship Las Vegas Review-Journal. According to competitor paper, the Las Vegas Sun, the move is part of restructuring in response to the economy.

(Side note: Review-Journal Editor Michael Hengel has Arkansas ties, most recently working as editor of the Pine Bluff Commercial, another Stephens paper.)

Second, Little Rock ABC affiliate KATV-TV, Channel 7, parent Allbritton Communications is pretty much gutting its once-hot TBD.com online news site, merging it into the website of its flagship TV station WJLA-TV in Washington D.C. The Washington City Paper quotes TBD Editor Erik Wemple, who says, “TBD will become a niche site on arts and entertainment.”

Remember that Allbritton has had wild success with Politico, which is why there was so much hope for the TBD project. Now founder Jim Brady, who left after only three month, tells the City Paper he has concerns that TBD will even exist at all in a year. Quoted in the City Paper:

“They’re saying it’s financial. That, basically, they don’t see the lines crossing any time soon,” says a staffer. The logic, though, baffles those who came in with the understanding that Allbritton would be patient with its novel new property. “We all came here under the expectation of that widely-quoted ‘three-to-five year’ ramp.”

So much for all of that.

More on TBD

TBD staffer to Poynter: Allbritton said the site was costing too much.

Six business lessons from TBD’s early demise.

TBD timeline.

One fatal move? Having the WJLA TV sales staff handle TBD ad sales.