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Bad News for Sun-Times, Trib

By Margaret Lyons in News on Aug 8, 2008 8:25PM

2008_8_8.nomnomnom.jpgIn a letter to shareholders yesterday, the Sun-Times Media Group painted a pretty grim picture of the paper's state of affairs.

It's no secret that the newspaper industry is in rough shape. Our industry's advertising revenues are being depressed by the significant declines in the industries that are most important to us - housing, real estate, employment, autos and, increasingly, retail. Some of the issues affecting our advertising revenue are economic, while others are secular. The entire newspaper industry is in a deep recession, possibly the deepest in 70 years. And it may well worsen.

It is difficult to predict when the economic recovery will come, and what changes to the print advertising market are more permanent. We will weather this difficult period, however long it lasts, by aggressive actions to reduce costs, conserve cash and gain share in the declining advertising market. We fully intend to come out of this downturn with a cost structure, cash balances and market positions that will best enable us to restore our Company to financial health and competitive strength.

The letter says the company is considering going private or deregister its stock, which it says would save $10 million, and that whatever happens, they"must build the market positions and capabilities to win when the U.S. economy returns to a more normal growth mode."

In other ruhroh news, the Trib's managing editor for news Hanke Gratteau, public editor Timothy McNulty, and Washington bureau chief Michael Tackett are all taking voluntary buy-outs at the paper. They're just three of an estimated 80 people being cut from newsroom staff. [STNG, Trib, photo by Thee Erin]