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Los Angeles Times to trim news staff by 8 percent

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LOS ANGELES, Nov 17 (AFP) - The Los Angeles Times announced Thursday it will cut 85 of its 1,032 newsroom jobs by year-end to cut costs.

The Times, one of the leading newspapers in the United States, said it would also eliminate "an undetermined number of positions elsewhere at the newspaper to reduce costs in the face of sluggish circulation and advertising sales."

In a memo to employees quoted in the daily, Publisher Jeffrey Johnson call the cuts "absolutely essential to succeed in 2006 and beyond."

Founded in 1881, The Times, which claims a readership of 840,000, had already announced Monday that it would discontinue one of its weekly sections in a cost-cutting measure.

The Times is owned by the Chicago-based Tribune Co., which saw its third-quarter profit plunge 80 percent from a year earlier to 24 million dollars from 21.7 million dollars, the daily said.

That was mainly due to an adverse tax ruling, which forced the company to take a 150 million dollar charge against earnings, the paper said.

Its revenue declined only slightly in the same period, to 1.4 billion from 1.41 billion dollars.

US papers are battling an explosion in online information, a news agenda accelerated by bloggers and 24-hour cable news, and they cannot seem to connect with young readers.

Credibility questions hang over several papers and journalists are under more scrutiny than ever in the highly polarized US political climate.

Latest figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations found a 2.6 percent drop in circulation for 786 newspapers across the country in the six months to September -- meaning that 1.2 million people deserted their paper.

Several US newspaper giants suffered heavy circulation drops -- figures which mirror the declining readership across the globe.

The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Jose Mercury News and the Baltimore Sun have all announced staff reductions in recent weeks.



COPYRIGHT 2005 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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