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Dallas Morning News workers take buyouts

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DALLAS (AFX) - The Dallas Morning News said Thursday that 111 newsroom employees accepted voluntary severance offers, part of the newspaper's effort to cut costs.

The newspaper, owned by Belo Corp., said the severance payments would cost about $6.7 million, of which about $5 million will be recorded in the third quarter and the rest in the fourth quarter.

The job cuts will reduce spending on wages and benefits by about $9.9 million a year, the newspaper said.

The paper announced the severance program in June. It said the number of employees who took the severance package met its goals, and about 450 newsroom employees would remain.

Dallas-based Belo, which owns three other daily newspapers and 19 television stations, has cut annual operating expenses by more than $21 million this year, said Robert W. Decherd, the company's chairman, president and chief executive.

Decherd said the company has eliminated more than 200 positions this year, about 30 of which were shifted to more Internet-centric duties. The company previously announced it would cut 80 jobs at The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif., while creating 30 new ones for the paper's Web site.

The Morning News severance payments are capped at one year's pay and a lump sum payment equal to each employee's health care premiums for a year.

The final day of work for most of the departing employees is Friday.

Shares of Belo fell 11 cents, to $16.01 in Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. Through Wednesday, the shares had lost 25 percent of their value this year. Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be

Copyright 2006 AFX News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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