Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tough Times at a North County Newspaper

Today, Lee Enterprises is struggling. While Sunday readership has stayed steady, its newspapers have lost some 200,000 daily subscribers. At its peak in 2004, the company's combined stock value was more than $2 billion. On Friday, Lee's combined stock value was $64 million -- teetering on the brink of being de-listed from the New York Stock Exchange. The exchange de-lists if a company's value drops below $25 million or if its stock value stays below $1 for a month. Lee's stock closed Friday at $1.42 and has dipped as low as $1.07 this year.

If you invested $1,000 in Lee shares at the peak, that original investment, excluding dividends, would be worth $29 today.

Locally, the North County Times has cut its staff three times this year. Last week, it cut 25 newsroom employees, about a 25 percent reduction in newsroom staff. The cost-cutting move was a significant blow to a newspaper that once appeared to be weathering the tough times facing its industry.


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