Tribune Co., the second-largest U.S. newspaper publisher, will begin 2006 with 800 fewer workers in its publishing group as part of what the company calls an aggressive campaign to reduce costs.
The reduction represents the bulk of Tribune's 900 job cuts this year, or 4 percent of the company's total staff, and comes after the Chicago-based company cut an earlier 4 percent in 2004, said spokesman Gary Weitman.
Tribune, based in Chicago, has been cutting jobs to counter a slowdown in sales at some of its largest papers, including the Los Angeles Times and Newsday, as advertisers desert print for the Internet. Chief Executive Dennis FitzSimons said today at a media conference in New York that the company will have ``pricing power'' with its newspaper and television properties.
``Clearly the year hasn't been what we hoped it would be,'' FitzSimons said. ``In short, we are doing things differently and doing it wherever and whenever it makes sense.''
Shares of Tribune rose 61 cents to $31.01 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. They have declined 26 percent this year.
The job cuts will leave costs in the publishing unit little changed in 2006, helping the company take advantage of any pick- up in advertising. Newspaper advertising revenue will be ``up slightly'' this year, while circulation sales will decline 7 percent, said Scott Smith, president of Tribune Publishing, at the conference. He said ad sales were ``choppy'' in 2005.
``We believe the pendulum swings back and forth'' on advertising, FitzSimons said. ``Newspaper advertising will continue to work.''
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