Atlantic City Paper Offering Buyouts to Cut Costs

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The Press of Atlantic City is offering buyouts as part of a cost-reduction program.

Other measures include deferring merit raises for 90 days and having employees voluntarily take a five-day leave without pay, Charles Bryant, chief financial officer of the newspaper’s owner, South Jersey Publishing Co., said Thursday.

Under the voluntary staff reduction program, employees 60 or older who have worked at least 15 years at the newspaper can request a separation package, Bryant said. The newspaper will decide which requests for packages to grant, he said.

The newspaper has 300 full-time and 50 part-time employees.

Several newspaper publishers reported lower quarterly results Thursday as sluggish advertising, higher newsprint prices, new costs for expensing stock options and one-time charges took their toll.

Journal Register Co. Profits for the company fell in the first quarter, hindered by declining advertising and circulation revenues.

Net income for the first three months of the year was $1.77 million, or 4 cents a share, down 76 percent from $7.5 million, or 18 cents a share, for the same period in 2005.

The McClatchy Co., a newspaper publisher which is buying Knight Ridder Inc., posted first-quarter results Thursday that were well below analysts’ expectations, sending its stock down nearly 5 percent.

McClatchy, which is based in Sacramento, Calif., earned $27.7 million, or 59 cents per share, for the quarter ended March 26, down 14 percent from $32.3 million, or 69 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

The New York Times Co. reported Thursday that it earned $35 million in the first quarter, down sharply from $111 million a year ago when the media company recorded a big gain from the sale of its headquarters building.

Tribune Co., the newspaper publisher and radio and TV station operator, said Thursday that first-quarter profit fell 28 percent as revenue edged lower and the company absorbed stock-based compensation expenses and one-time charges.

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