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By: Mark Fitzgerald

Here’s how it’s supposed to happen: One fine summer day, the McClatchy Co. will close on its $6.5 billion March 2006 bet on the newspaper industry, absorbing 20 daily newspapers, a score of Web sites, and a stake in the CareerBuilder.com jobs network. It also will set aside a tidy sum to pay taxes on a dozen daily papers ranging in size and health from The Philadelphia Inquirer to the Aberdeen (S.D.) American News, that its brokers have sold off in the meantime.

The target is July. McClatchy says it’ll be the first day of the month. But for the dozen papers cast out by both Knight Ridder

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