The parent company of the Pantagraph Newspaper in Bloomington is reporting lower first quarter earnings than a year ago. Lee Enterprises CEO Mary Junck characterizes the $11.9 million in income and 22 cents per share in earnings as a "solid start." Junck says digital revenue and audience grew and operating expenses fell. Revenue continued downward though. Overall operating revenue declined just under 4% and although the company says the advertising revenue trend improved, advertising and marketing service revenue still declined 5% compared to the same quarter a year ago. Lee says it will begin offering new delivery models this spring that include the printed newspaper with full access to all digital platforms that include desktop, mobile, and tablet. The company continues to reduce its massive debt to $828 million, paying down $14.5 million in the quarter. Lee is now trying to refinance the largest chunk of that obligation to extend the deadline to pay past the end of 2015.
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