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BOCA RATON PAPER GOES ON-LINE ONLY.

A continuing depressed economy forced publishers last week to make even more cutbacks, as a paper in South Florida went on-line only, a daily in suburban Chicago cut out its Saturday edition, while papers in St. Louis and Colorado laid off workers.

On Thursday executives at Florida's Boca Raton News said the paper would move to on-line publishing only. The 55-year-old paper, which was the locus of the future of the newspaper business in the late-1980s, had cut back to printing three days a week late last year. The News was the centerpiece of Knight Ridder's research into the future of newspapering and it housed the company's 25/43 Project, which was designed to lure people aged 25-43 back into reading and buying newspapers.

The Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale reported on Friday that none of the 24-member staff was laid off, though the paper's offices were being closed. Managing Editor John Johnston told The Sun-Sentinel that the staff would be expected to work from home.

"We're going to do exactly what we're doing now: run a proactive and involved web site covering Boca Raton and Delray Beach," Johnston told The Sun-Sentinel.

In suburban Chicago, the SouthtownStar newspaper said last week that it would cut back to six days of delivery, Sunday-Friday. Features formerly found in the paper's Saturday edition were being rolled into the Friday paper, which was being redubbed the "Weekend Edition."

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said on Friday that it had cut 14 full-time jobs and four part-timers in its most recent round of cuts. In addition, the Suburban Journals -- a group of area papers also owned by Lee Enterprises Inc. of Davenport, Iowa, the Post-Dispatch's parent -- said it had cut 28 jobs.

The paper quoted its publisher, Kevin Mowbray, as saying he remains hopeful "that the worst of this economic recession is behind us."

Nine were laid off at Gannett's Coloradoan of Fort Collins, that paper said on Friday. "Cuts came in all aspects of the newspaper's operation," the paper reported. In May the paper cut 42 jobs when it sub-contracted its printing to the Denver Newspaper Agency. It said it now has about 115 workers, down almost half from where it stood at the beginning of 2007.

The alleged future of newspapers -- free dailies and hyper-local web sites -- took hits last week as well, as the News Corp. said it would close its free thelondonpaper and the Washington Post said it was ending its LoudounExtra.com. The Wall Street Journal reported that the London free paper lost 12.9 million ($US21.3 million) in the year ending June 30.

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Publication:NewsInc
Date:Aug 24, 2009
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