Newspaper Roundup: Chicago Sun-Times; Mercury News; WaPo; Lee Enterprises

Chicago Sun-Times: The Sun-Times Media Group-owned paper intends to cut 40 positions including 35 newsroom posts. The other five positions are in management. Last month, the company said it planned to lower operating costs by $50 million this year because of the company’s struggling finances. In addition to the usual pain associated with advertising and readership migration from print to the web, the Sun-Times has suffered significant legal and investigative costs related to the fraud trial and subsequent convictions of former CEO Conrad Black and Sun-Times publisher David Radler. (via the Chicago Tribune)

San Jose Mercury News: After seven months as executive editor, Carole Leigh Hutton, has stepped down from the MediaNews Group pub. She is being replaced by David Butler, VP for news at the parent company. In addition to his new role at the Silicon Valley-based Mercury News, Butler will continue to coordinate the news and editorial activities of MediaNews’ 68 daily papers and websites. Hutton became executive editor in May after serving as editor and publisher of the Detroit Free Press. (AP) After several months of planning its redesign, the has hired New York’s Wonder Factory to handle what Jim Brady, the site’s executive editor, is calling major overhaul. This is the first time WaPo has gone outside for this kind of work since starting the site in 1996. Other than that, Brady is fairly mum on what sort of changes are being implemented. One change in the works, though not a high priority, involves creating greater capacity on the site. Last week, the site’s system became overwhelmed after the AP’s automated photo service uploaded too many images at once.(via E&P)

Lee Enterprises: The publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and various regional papers will buy back up to $30 million in shares in an attempt to revive its flagging stock price, which has lost more than 60 percent of its value in the last year. Lee said it was in a good position to complete the buyback without impairing its ability to pay down its debt thanks to its steady cash flow. Still, news of the plan caused Lee’s stock to drop 5.4 percent. The stock price also took a hit after Deutsche Bank lowered of its price target on the stock to $24 from $26 per share. (Reuters)


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