NEW YORK — Reeling from a circulation scandal that keeps getting worse, Tribune Co. replaced the publishers of Newsday and its Spanish-language publication, Hoy.
Replacing Raymond Jansen will be Timothy Knight, 38, who was named publisher and CEO of the paper effective Aug. 15. He joined the paper in 2003 as executive VP/general manager.
At Hoy, Newsday’s Spanish-language edition, publisher Louis Sito is retiring and will be replaced by Digby Solomon Diez, VP and general manager at the paper.
Jansen, publisher of Newsday since 1994, told employees in a letter that he would take early retirement in mid-August.
He said he had planned to retire at the end of the year, “but understanding what our management has to do to repair the damage to our circulation credibility, it has become apparent that my departure date should be sooner than anticipated,” he said.
Jansen’s departure comes two weeks after the official censure of the paper by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the firm that audits circulation figures of newspapers and magazines, for overstating its circ figures for parts of several years, and just days after the paper said additional restatements would be necessary. Audit Bureau also censured Hollinger Intl.’s Chicago Sun-Times for reporting false figures.
The censures mean both papers will not be listed in the firm’s semi-annual circulation report used by advertisers to make buying decisions. Current audit statements will also carry a note that the publications have been censured.
Audit Bureau senior VP Mike Moran said the censures are the first the firm has issued in more than 30 years.
A routine audit caught circulation discrepancies at Newsday, while the overstatement of circulation figures at the Sun-Times appear to have persisted despite several audits. “We don’t know what happened at the Sun-Times,” Moran said. “It certainly complicates the audit if people are lying and records are being altered.”
For Tribune Co., which also publishes the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, the scandal comes amid plummeting earnings and staff reductions. Earnings fell 58% for the second quarter to $96.4 million from $229.5 million in the year-earlier period. The decline includes a $35 million settlement with advertisers over the misstatements.
Company recorded a $17 million charge for the elimination of 375 jobs, half of them at the Los Angeles Times.