The headlines have not been good for the newspaper and broadcast group Tribune Co. ( TRB) lately, and on Thursday, the Chicago-based company added another to the list.

Profit plunged in the second quarter as the company took charges for a round of layoffs and a settlement relating to a newspaper circulation flap.

Tribune earned $96.4 million, or 29 cents a share, vs. $229.5 million, or 67 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

The lower profit reflected two pretax charges: $17 million, or 3 cents a share, for the elimination of 375 positions; and $35 million, or 6 cents a share, related to its anticipated settlement with advertisers regarding misstated circulation at the company's Newsday and Hoy publications.

The second-quarter results also included a net non-operating loss of 24 cents a share, which primarily relates to the early retirement of debt completed on March 29.

Excluding charges and items, the consensus earnings estimate of analysts was for 61 cents a share, based on a Thomson First Call survey.

Tribune's operating revenue increased 3% to $1.50 billion from $1.45 billion in 2003.

In June, the company disclosed that the newspapers overstated their circulation figures by as much as 15%. Tribune said both newspapers would be reducing their reported daily and Sunday circulation for both the 12 months ended September 2003 and the six months ended March 2004. "Since that time, the ongoing internal investigation has identified additional misstatements for these periods, as well as misstatements that impact 2001 and 2002," the company said Thursday.

"We moved aggressively to address circulation misstatements at Newsday and Hoy in New York, where ethical lapses occurred that are unacceptable and wholly out of character with Tribune's history of business integrity," the company said. "We also initiated expense reductions in the publishing group in the face of softening revenue at the Los Angeles Times. Results for the majority of our newspapers and our broadcasting group were good, and we have demonstrated our confidence in the future with accelerated stock repurchases."

The company said it expected revenue for the second half to grow in the 4% area.

Shares rose 7 cents, or 0.2%, to $43.19, just above their 52-week low of $42.87.