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Newsday, Hoy Overstated Circulation; Exec Put on Leave

June 18, 2004|From Times Wire Services

Tribune Co., the second-largest U.S. newspaper publisher, said Thursday that its New York newspapers Newsday and Hoy overstated circulation last year and Newsday's vice president of circulation had been placed on administrative leave.

Newsday said September 2003 circulation figures were actually about 40,000 lower than the 579,729 reported for daily distribution and about 60,000 lower than the 671,819 reported for Sundays.

Hoy will restate figures for the same month to be approximately 15,000 copies lower for daily circulation than a reported 92,604 and 4,000 lower for Sundays than a reported 33,198. The two newspapers said they expected to make "significantly smaller" adjustments to March 2004 data.

A Tribune probe found that Newsday copies distributed free as part of a home delivery promotion were improperly recorded as paid copies during part of 2002 and 2003, Newsday said Thursday. Some single-copy sales could not be verified because of faulty record-keeping by an outside distributor.

"Once these discrepancies were brought to our attention, we moved quickly to correct the situation and are instituting new policies and procedures to prevent it from happening again," Newsday publisher Raymond Jansen said.

Newsday and Hoy have been working with the Audit Bureau of Circulation, which tracks newspaper circulation, since February. Tribune, which publishes the Los Angeles Times, said its investigation into the circulation practices was ongoing.

Shares of Tribune rose 49 cents to $47.27 on the New York Stock Exchange. The company announced the circulation restatement after markets closed.

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Bloomberg News and Reuters were used in compiling this report.

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