Knight-Ridder Philadelphia Newspapers to Cut 100 Jobs

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NEW YORK ( -- Both The New York Times Co. and Knight Ridder yesterday said they would make further job cuts as they continue to struggle with weaker-than-expected ad revenue. It may not be time to compare
big newspaper companies to Sisyphus -- who in Greek legend was condemned to forever push a boulder up a hill only to watch it roll down again -- but it seems close.

4% of workforce
The Times Co. plans to eliminate about 500 jobs, some 4% of its 12,000-strong workforce, including 45 posts in The Times newsroom and 35 jobs in The Boston Globe newsroom.

“Given the continued financial challenges and the cloudy economic outlook for the remainder of the year, we believe it is prudent and necessary to initiate this additional reduction,” employees were told in an internal memo signed by Janet L. Robinson, president-CEO, and Arthur Sulzberger Jr., company chairman and publisher of its flagship paper.

The company already reduced staff by 200 this year, largely through employee buyouts. But the cuts announced yesterday, to be achieved over the next six to nine months, represent the largest cutback since 2001, when it slashed its workforce of 13,750 by about 9%. revenue slips
The Times Co. also said ad revenue in August increased 1.7% compared with August 2004. Excluding revenue from the March acquisition of, however, ad revenue slipped 1%.

Lauren Rich Fine, an analyst at Merrill Lynch, wrote in a note to investors today that The Times Co. had now made mid-quarter warnings of lackluster ad revenue five times in a row. “Our patience is wearing thin,” she wrote, though she maintained a “neutral” rating on Times shares.

The Internet was one bright spot; even excluding, the Web properties of its various newspapers increased 28.3% in August, the company said.

20% of Daily News staff
At Knight Ridder, the Philadelphia Newspapers division said it plans to eliminate 75 jobs, or 15%, from the newsroom at The Philadelphia Inquirer and cut 25 newsroom jobs, or 20%, from The Philadelphia Daily News. The company will offer buyouts to achieve its goals but resort to layoffs if necessary.

Knight Ridder said on Sept. 13 that its August ad revenue was up 1.2% compared with August 2005. Ad lineage fell 3.3%, but sank 14.1% in Philadelphia, more than any in other Knight Ridder market.

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