Source: Sentinel Shutting Down Delray Beach Office

A source at the Sun-Sentinel tells me that the newspaper's Palm Beach County office in Delray Beach is closing up this week. The bureau, which had 27 people last year but has surely shrunk a bit during recent staff cuts, is moving down to the newspaper's existing Deerfield Beach office.

[ADDED] Most of the move has already been completed.

That means, of course, that the Sentinel's main Palm Beach bureau is now located in Broward County. But most people will be none the wiser -- reporters and editors will keep their 561 phone numbers (rather than 954) to keep up the illusion that it's truly a PBC operation, according to the source.

The Sentinel, since it still dominates southern Palm Beach County in terms of circulation, apparently believes it must at least to pretend it will still have a presence in that part of the Palm Beach (apparently, the newspaper's small satellite office in West Palm Beach will remain intact for now).

But with the content-sharing agreement with archrival Palm Beach Post (and the Miami Herald), does it really matter? The Sentinel can actually use the Post's own stories to help keep its edge.

It's just another sign that daily newspaper competition is a thing of the past in South Florida -- and to me it seems a harbinger of more bad things to come at the Sentinel. News that parent Tribune Co. is planning more job cuts at the Baltimore Sun only heightens that concern.

Perhaps the most chilling part: This time the company isn't offering buyouts; it's just sending out layoff notices.

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