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U.S. media job cuts up 88 percent

CHICAGO, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- U.S. media job cuts surged 88 percent in 2006 from the previous year, a downsizing trend expected to continue this year, a survey said Thursday.

The media industry slashed 17,809 jobs last year, a nearly two-fold increase from the 9,453 cuts in 2005, outplacement consultancy Challenger Gray & Christmas said.

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The figure was the industry's largest annual job-cut total since 43,420 media job cuts accompanied the collapse of the technology bubble in 2001, the survey said.

"A sea change in the way people get and read news, not to mention the way they search for jobs, used cars and consumer products, was the primary contributor," the company said.

Media companies, including the New York Times Co. and Time Inc., have already laid off 2,000 employees in 2007, Challenger noted, saying the cuts suggested the downsizing trend would continue.

"These organizations will continue to make adjustments as their focus shifts from print to electronic," Chief Executive John Challenger said. "Until they can figure out a way to make as much money from their online services as they are losing from the print side, it is going to be an uphill battle."

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