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S.F. Chronicle In Danger Of Closing

The Hearst Corp. said Tuesday that unless the San Francisco Chronicle can undertake "critical" cost cutting measures including job cuts within weeks, the company will be forced to sell or close the newspaper, MarketWatch reports.

Hearst said the Chronicle lost more than $50 million last year and added that, "this year's losses to date are worse." The Chronicle has had major losses each year since 2001, Hearst said. The closely-held media company said cost reductions including an unspecified reduction in union and non-union employees are needed to restore the Chronicle to health, MarketWatch reports.

Several other struggling newspapers around the country are also on the sales block, have filed for bankruptcy or are facing a possible shutdown.

Meanwhile, bankruptcy lawyers say three Philadelphia newspaper executives will roll back their 2008 raises while the company tries to shed debt and stay afloat.

Chief Executive Brian Tierney's 38 percent pay hike in December has boosted his salary to $850,000.

It has raised eyebrows when it was disclosed in this week's filing by owners of The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News to seek bankruptcy protection. The raises have come as two newspapers shed staff amid declining circulation and revenues.

Lawyers in court Tuesday say Tierney and two other executives will roll back their recent raises as the case proceeds in Philadelphia.

Another newspaper publisher, Journal Register Co., has its opening hearing later Tuesday in a bankruptcy court in New York.

Meanwhile, two Minnesota newspapers will share in $238,000 in state grant money to help retrain their staffs to adapt to an increasingly Internet-based industry.

The Duluth News Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press will work with the University of Minnesota's School of Journalism and Mass Communication on the project. The three will contribute about $469,000 to the effort, mostly by devoting staff time to training.

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