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Gannett CEO Comfortable with 1Q Expectations

Press release from the issuing company

Thursday, March 22, 2001 NEW YORK, NY - Gannett Chairman, President and CEO Douglas H. McCorkindale said today the company is comfortable with most First Call estimates that show diluted earnings per share from continuing operations will be in a range of 66 cents to 68 cents for the first quarter, barring any significant further deterioration in advertising in March. McCorkindale and other Gannett executives were reporting on the company's performance to date in 2001 and the outlook for the remainder of the first quarter at a presentation today to the Media and Entertainment Analysts of New York. McCorkindale noted that classified advertising, particularly help wanted, softened further in February at the company's domestic community newspapers. He also anticipated another month of unfavorable advertising results in March. McCorkindale went on to say that while domestic results were very soft, "the company's United Kingdom operations were off to a strong start." Tom Curley, president and publisher of USA TODAY, reported that as indicated previously, advertising revenues at USA TODAY will be lower for the first five months of 2001. The shortfall, however, should be less in the second quarter than the first quarter. Curley went on to note that, excluding dotcom advertising which was very strong for USA TODAY in the first half of 2000, "USA TODAY's core advertising business is running down less than 3 percent and is expected to turn positive in June." Cecil Walker, chairman and CEO of Gannett Broadcasting, reported on another strong ratings performance by the company's television stations in November. Walker noted that four Gannett stations ranked in the top ten for late news including No.1 KSDK in St. Louis and three Gannett stations ranked in the top ten for morning news, including No. 1 KSDK. While complete results for the February ratings period are not yet available, Walker commented that he anticipates "results will be at the same level of key demographic strength that we had in November." Walker went on to say that he anticipates "first quarter net revenue will be under last year by 9 percent to 10 percent, led by declines in automotive and telecommunications spending and the absence of issue/advocacy advertising in the quarter."