Dallas Paper Suffers Circ Plunge, Gets Subpoena

By: E&P Staff Belo Corp. said Thursday that upcoming Audit Bureau of Circulation figures will show that its flagship Dallas Morning News will take a circulation hit of about 13% on Sundays and 9% on other days, for the most recent six-month period. The drop compares figures from the March 2004 report before the Morning News announced circulation misstatements. Since the paper is censured, ABC will not publish results in its latest report.

It said circulation at its Providence (R.I.) Journal will be down about 1%, with The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif., off 3% Sundays and 2% other days.

Belo Corp. also disclosed that it received a subpoena this week from local prosecutors regarding overstated circulation figures at the Morning News.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert W. Decherd said the company will cooperate fully with this week's subpoena from the Dallas County District Attorney for documents relating to the case.

The investigation focuses on whether there was any criminal wrongdoing related to the circulation statements, Rachel Horton, a spokeswoman for Dallas County District Attorney Bill Hill, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Horton said the district attorney's office has been investigating the issue since the Belo Corp., disclosed the problem to stockholders in August 2004. She declined further comment, citing the ongoing investigation, according to the Star-Telegram.

The circulation overstatement is already under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.


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