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Newspaper ad spending climbed 5.1% in the first half of 1999 vs. a year earlier, to $21.5 billion, said the Newspaper Association of America, Vienna, Va. In the first six months, retail spending rose 3% to $9.7 billion, classified was up 3.9% to $8.5 billion and national up 15.1% to $3.3 billion.

VF Corp.'s Lee Printwear is looking for a new agency for its estimated $1 million to $5 million account. The Martinsville, Va., shirt marketer and Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, have ended their eight-year relationship, but Fallon is helping in the review.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, an endowment funded by Microsoft Corp.'s founder and his wife with $17 billion, to Cole & Weber, Seattle, for its estimated $10 million account. The agency will produce a global campaign, starting this fall, to raise awareness for organizations receiving the foundation's grants.

Whirlpool Corp., Benton Harbor, Mich., to Publicis Group, Chicago, to handle the Whirlpool brand in North America, from Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich.

Copyright September 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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