Knight Ridder to Cut 1700 Jobs

SAN JOSE, Calif.

Knight Ridder, the nation's second-largest newspaper publishing company, is cutting 1,700 jobs to deal with a tough market for advertising sales.

San Jose-based Knight Ridder said in April that it would eliminate positions at most of its 32 daily newspapers, but did not specify how many until Monday's announcement. At the time, the company cited declining advertising and rising newsprint costs. The number of cuts, which come on top of about 400 jobs eliminated earlier in the year, is equivalent to slightly less than 10 percent of the company's work force of about 22,000.

The cuts were announced by chairman and chief executive Tony Ridder at a newspaper industry meeting in New York Monday. Knight Ridder spokeswoman Lee Ann Schlatter said jobs would be lost ``at almost all of our  newspapers,'' but said no details were available for each paper. Buyouts are being offered, but layoffs are possible, she said.

Ridder said advertising in June is expected to be ``about the same'' as it was in April in May. He also said the company is comfortable with Wall Street's profit forecasts for the current quarter and the full year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call are expecting 71 cents for the second quarter and $3.28 for the year. Steve Rossi, president of Knight Ridder's newspaper division, said help-wanted advertising fell 25.7 percent in the first five months of the year, and classified ads dropped 11.6 percent. Real estate ads rose 22.6 percent, however, and retail ads were up 1.6 percent. ``I don't think it's getting any worse,'' he said.

Knight Ridder publishes papers in 28 U.S. markets, including the San Jose Mercury News, The Miami Herald and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Shares of Knight Ridder were up 29 cents to $56.49 in trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.