January 9, 2009

Sun-Times Media to close 12 newspapers

Chicago's Sun-Times Media Group Inc. said it would close 12 weekly newspapers to cut expenses as advertising revenues have fallen.

The 12 suburban newspapers scheduled to close are part of 51 newspapers published by Pioneer Press, which the Sun-Times purchased in 1989.

The newspapers, scheduled to fold Jan. 15, cover mostly the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Crain's Chicago Business reported Friday.

The Sun-Times, which lost $168 million in the third quarter last year, is attempting to save $50 million in operating expenses in 2009. The company on Wednesday asked for a pay cut of 7 percent from all its union workers, Crain's reported.

In addition, 15 of those jobs may end, although the Sun-Times needs to negotiate the layoffs with the Newspaper Guild.

Sun-Times Media, which cut jobs and closed newspapers in 2008, said the new round of cutbacks would bring the company back to break-even, Crain's reported.