Belo Faces Legal Probe Over Newspaper Sales Figures

25 April 2005

The scandal of erroneous US newspaper circulation data continues.

Belo Corporation, publisher of the Dallas Morning News and owner of nineteen TV stations, is being pursued by local prosecutors over inflated sales figures last year. The company is already under investigation by financial watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Says a spokeswoman for the Dallas district attorney's office: "We have opened an investigation into whether there was any criminal wrongdoing related to circulation overstatements made by the Dallas Morning News."

Belo chairman and ceo Robert Decherd says the company is cooperating fully with the investigation.

The publisher has paid millions of dollars compensation to advertisers who believed they were reaching more readers than was the reality.

The Dallas Morning News was one of four dailies at the heart of a circulations furore in 2004. As a result the Audit Bureau of Circulations has been forced to tighten its rules on sales data.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff