The parent company of the Pantagraph Newspaper in Bloomington lost nearly $89 million in the fourth quarter of its fiscal year. That compares to about $3 million in red ink for the same period last year, largely due to a one time accounting charge. If not for the charge, Lee Enterprises says it would have been $25 million in the black. The company that owns more than 50 daily newspapers including the Pantagraph and the Saint Louis Post Dispatch continues to cut expenses faster than revenues are falling. Rapid increases in digital advertising are not making up for the decline in traditional newsprint ads. At the end of September and its fiscal year, Lee still owed principle of nearly $848 million, but is two years ahead of schedule in paying off its loans. Some on line analysts say Lee is "burning the furniture to heat the building" and suspect the practice is unsustainable. Lee's workforce is down by more than 8% for the year.
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