1. Exceptional fortitude, perseverance and teamwork have shined throughout the company, reinforcing our ability to emerge strong when the recession ends.
2. Debt refinancing and reduction – We executed a comprehensive refinancing of $1.3 billion of bank and private placement debt in arguably the worst financing environment since the Great Depression. Our principal payments in 2009 totaled $164 million.
3. Cost savings – We reduced cash costs by $150 million, or 18.3%, with savings across all enterprises and in virtually all cost categories, which helped us return to profitability in the last quarter of fiscal 2009.
4. Streamlined operations – We re-engineered traditional ways of doing business, including selective outsourcing and insourcing of printing, production and distribution; creation of regional call centers, and regionalization of human resources.
5. Increased market share – Through an intense focus on innovative sales programs, we took an estimated $35 million of advertising revenue from competitors.
6. Improved online infrastructure – We created and deployed a powerful content management system that has provided dynamic new online tools and enabled a significant new capability, the delivery of behaviorally targeted advertising (BT).
7. Massive BT launch – Our mid-summer kickoff of behavioral targeted advertising generated more than $4 million of new online advertising commitments in the last two months of fiscal 2009 and set the stage for aggressive sales campaigns in 2010.
8. New page width – Through intense collaboration, our editors redesigned our pages to a reduced width of 11 inches, gaining approval from readers and advertisers. Through that and other actions, we reduced newsprint usage 31%.
9. Strong audiences – We maintained or grew strong print and online audiences, reaching more than three-fourths of adults in many markets, by emphasizing vital, compelling and unmatched local journalism.
10. Industry leader in revenue – With an intense sales culture and unending stream of initiatives, we again led the industry in advertising revenue performance by nearly 5 percentage points.
Read the rest of the letter here.