Morris Publishing files for bankruptcy protection

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Daily newspaper owner Morris Publishing says it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and plans to lower its debt by approximately $288.5 million.

The privately held owner of daily newspapers such as The Augusta Chronicle and Savannah Morning News announced last week that it would file a “prepackaged” plan, preapproved by a majority of its creditors, in federal bankruptcy court by Tuesday.

The plan lowers Morris’ overall debt to $126.5 million from about $415 million.

Newspapers have struggled during the recession as advertisers have pulled back on their spending and readers have increasingly shifted to online news. For privately owned Morris, the situation was more dire as it has also been burdened with debt mostly accumulated from its acquisition of newspapers in the 1990s.