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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) _ The Ledger-Star, Norfolk’s afternoon newspap

July 17, 1995

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) _ The Ledger-Star, Norfolk’s afternoon newspaper and sister of The Virginian-Pilot morning daily, will cease publishing Aug. 25.

``Everyone who now works on the Ledger has been offered a job on the Pilot,″ publisher Frank Batten Jr. told employees in a letter. ``The change to morning-only publication will not significantly change the number of people who work in the company.″

The two papers’ news staffs were combined in the early 1980s.

Joe Delatte, marketing director of the two papers, said the Ledger-Star’s circulation has fallen to below 10,000.

The Virginian-Pilot’s circulation is close to 190,000.

The newspapers are owned by Landmark Communications Inc. of Norfolk. The company publishes eight dailies, including the Ledger-Star, and 31 nondaily newspapers. Among its other holdings are cable television’s The Weather Channel.

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San Jose Mercury News to Drop Afternoon Edition

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ The San Jose Mercury News, faced with declining subscriptions and rising distribution costs, will discontinue its afternoon edition later this year.

A date for dropping the afternoon edition hasn’t been set but probably will be in the fall, said the paper, part of the Knight-Ridder newspaper group.

The Mercury News’ afternoon edition has plunged from a circulation of 72,000 in 1974 to 23,500. So far, circulation is down nearly 9 percent from a year ago.

However, daily morning circulation is 269,000, up 2.6 percent over last year and up from 133,000 a decade ago. Sunday circulation also is at a high of 353,000, up 2 percent from last year.

The move will eliminate about 35 jobs in the circulation, production and news departments. It was not immediately known how many might find other positions at the Mercury News.

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Two Papers to Combine in Central New Jersey

NEPTUNE, N.J. (AP) _ New Jersey Press Inc. has agreed to buy The News Tribune of Woodbridge from Macromedia Inc. and combine it with The Home News of East Brunswick to form one daily newspaper for central New Jersey.

The companies did not disclose the price of the deal, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year. A name for the combined paper will be selected later, said Tim Zeiss, a spokesman for New Jersey Press.

Slumping advertising dollars and surging newsprint prices influenced the decision to sell The News Tribune, said Malcolm A. Borg, chairman of the Bergen Record Corp., the Macromedia subsidiary that owns the paper.

The News Tribune has about 130 full-time and 95 part-time workers. All will be able to apply for positions with New Jersey Press, president E. Donald Lass said July 13.

The Home News has 42,188 daily circulation and 51,833 on Sunday. The News Tribune figures are 53,084 daily and 51,103 on Sunday.

New Jersey Press also owns the Asbury Park Press of Neptune. Macromedia also owns The Record of Hackensack. The Asbury Park Press and The Record are the state’s two largest newspapers after The Star-Ledger of Newark.

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Tribune Co. Agrees to Sell California Newspapers

CHICAGO (AP) _ The Tribune Co. has agreed to sell The Times Advocate Co., a subsidiary that publishes two California daily newspapers and one weekly, to South Coast Newspapers Inc. of Oceanside, Calif.

The newspapers published by The Times Advocate Co. are the Times Advocate of Escondido and the Californian of Temecula, as well as the weekly Fallbrook Enterprise.

The Times Advocate’s circulation is approximately 40,000, the Californian’s about 12,000.

Terms of the sale, which must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department, were not disclosed .

``No date has been set _ it’s up to the Justice Department,″ Richard High, president of South Coast Newspapers, said July 12. ``It should be routine. It should be pretty soon _ a matter of weeks.″

South Coast owns the North County Blade-Citizen, a 50,000-circulation newspaper that competes with the Times-Advocate. High said no decision has been made on merging the rival papers.

South Coast Newspapers is a subsidiary of Howard Publications, which prints 18 newspapers in 12 states.

The Chicago-based Tribune Co. publishes six daily newspapers, including the flagship Chicago Tribune, operates eight television and six radio stations, publishes books and information in print and multimedia formats and owns the Chicago Cubs.

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Paxton to Buy 5 New York Times Co. Newspapers

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) _ Paxton Media Group Inc. has agreed to purchase five New York Times Co. newspapers in Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and Mississippi.

Newspapers to be sold under the letter of intent signed July 10 are the State Gazette of Dyersburg, Tenn., the Lenoir (N.C.) News-Topic, The Messenger in Madisonville, Ky., The Daily Corinthian in Corinth, Miss., and The Banner-Independent in Booneville, Miss. All but the Booneville paper, a weekly, are dailies.

The transaction is expected to be completed about Aug. 1.

Paxton Media Group is a family-owned media company, founded in 1896 and owned and managed by third- and fourth-generation members of the Paxton family.

Paxton Media publishes The Paducah Sun in Kentucky and seven other daily newspapers in the Southeast. The company also owns WPSD-TV in Paducah.

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South Carolina Court Reaffirms Decision: Reporter Must Go To Jail

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ The South Carolina Supreme Court stood by its order to send a reporter to jail unless she reveals her source for a story on the sanity of Susan Smith.

The court on July 12 unanimously reaffirmed its July 6 decision, which found the need to reveal the source outweighed Twila Decker’s ``asserted″ First Amendment right to keep it a secret.

Decker, a reporter for The State newspaper in Columbia, was found in contempt May 26 for refusing to reveal who told her that state doctors had found Ms. Smith competent to stand trial on murder charges for rolling her car into a lake with her two young sons inside. The story also quoted doctors as saying that Ms. Smith had a mental disorder that may have contributed to her actions.

Decker said a state shield law protected her from having to reveal her sources. But in reaffirming its decision, the Supreme Court said a mental health report, by law, is confidential and not a matter of public interest.

Decker has remained free during her appeal.

Jay Bender, attorney for The State and Decker, said he expects the case to be returned shortly to Judge William Howard, who originally imposed the contempt order.

``Then I’ll try to get in touch with him and we’ll discuss the next step,″ Bender said.

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