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Sun-Times' admits to circulation inflation

CHICAGO, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- The owner of Chicago's Sun-Times newspaper has admitted an eight-year scheme to inflate circulation by overstating daily sales by as many as 50,000 copies.

A three-month probe by Hollinger International resulted in the admission as well as the promise to spend $$@$!27 million to make advertisers good.

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Some of those advertisers are suing the newspaper.

Hollinger also revealed sales inflation at three other papers it owns, the Daily Southtown and the Star in suburban Chicago, and the Jerusalem Post in Israel.

The revised audit of circulation, or sales, for the Sun-Times comes in at about 430,000 copies on weekdays, farther behind the Chicago Tribune's sales of about 615,000 than previously thought. The Sun-Times' circulation could be further lowered when the impact of an April price increase is fully known, Hollinger said.

"It hurts, particularly in a competitive market," said newspaper analyst John Morton. "The lesser your position against your predominant competitor, the worse off you are."

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