Detroit union doubts Knight Ridder report p.44

By: Lucia Moses The union that waged a 19-month newspaper strike in Detroit contests Knight Ridder's report of a strong financial year at Detroit Newspapers.
According to Knight Ridder, the company enjoyed a "tremendous performance in Detroit," with ad revenues up 9.7% for
the year (see Page 23 for earnings results).
That's unlikely, says Shawn D. Ellis, spokesman for the Metropolitan Council of Newspaper Unions, when the newspapers' circulation is significantly lower than pre-strike levels.
"We still don't think they're telling investors the story about the extreme circulation loss in Detroit," Ellis says.
The union represents more than 1,000 employees who have not returned to work since the strike at the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News ended one year ago.
Polk Laffoon IV, Knight Ridder's vice president of corporate relations, says 1998 ad revenues at the newspapers, jointly
produced by Knight Ridder and Gannett Co. Inc., are just below 1994 prestrike levels, despite circulation declines during
that period.
Today, combined circulation is 615,000 daily and 803,000 Sunday, down 30% and 27%, respectively, from prestrike levels. Audited circulation fell slightly in both categories since 1997, according to Detroit Newspapers.
"Even though circulation has gone down since the strike, the newspaper remains the single most powerful medium in the community," Laffoon says.
No substantial ad rate increases have taken effect since the strike started in July 1995, according to Detroit Newspapers.
?(Editor& Publisher Web Site: http://www.mediainfo. com) [Caption]
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher January 30, 1999) [Caption]


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