7 more fired in Newsday circulation scandal

14 in all terminated by N.Y. newspaper over inflated figures

December 03, 2004|By James T. Madore | James T. Madore,NEWSDAY

Newsday announced the firings of seven more employees yesterday as it grapples with a scandal over circulation that was inflated by nearly 100,000 copies on weekdays.

In a letter to employees, Publisher Timothy P. Knight said the terminations were "part of our commitment to ensure the integrity of our circulation practices."

He did not elaborate on the improper practices, and a spokesman declined to identify the individuals or the causes for their respective firings from the Long Island, N.Y., newspaper.

But sources familiar with the circulation operation said that some of the affected employees were involved in a sham hawker program hastily assembled in April to fool independent auditors who were reviewing the newspaper's street sales. Details of the program were first reported in a Newsday article Sept. 12.

The sources also said some of those fired were involved in other activities, such as a computer program used to manipulate circulation figures.

The latest action brings the total number of people fired to 14 since the paper's disclosure last summer that its circulation had been inflated going back to 2001.

Another individual who worked for the Spanish-language paper Hoy after years at Newsday also has been terminated. Both papers are owned by Chicago-based Tribune Co., parent of The Sun, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and other daily newspapers.

Also yesterday, Newsday named a new director of home delivery circulation, Michael Neuwirth from USA Today, who supervised that paper's distribution in New Jersey.

Tom McGinty contributed to this article. Newsday is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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