Feb. 13 (UPI) -- McClatchy, one of the largest newspaper publishers in the United States, said Thursday it has filed for bankruptcy to shed more than half of its debts and shift from print journalism to an operation with a digital focus.
The filing ended McClatchy's 163-year family ownership and hands over control to creditors, whom the company says support independent journalism. By filing for Chapter 11 protection, McClatchy hopes to terminate much of its pension obligations and about 60 percent of its debts.
McClatchy is the second-largest news publisher in the United States, behind Gannett, and owns more than 30 newspapers, including the Miami Herald, Kansas City Star, Sacramento Bee and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
"While this is obviously a sad milestone ... McClatchy remains a strong operating company and committed to essential local news and information," said Chairman Kevin McClatchy.
"While we tried hard to avoid this step, there's no question that the scale of our 75-year-old pension plan -- with 10 pensioners for every single active employee -- is a reflection of another economic era."
McClatchy said it intends to stay in business and emerge from bankruptcy in the near future.
"In this important moment for independent local journalism in the public interest, a stronger capital structure will enable McClatchy to continue to pursue our strategy of digital transformation and continue to produce strong local journalism essential to the communities we serve," CEO Craig Forman said.