Working at a US regional newspaper used to be quite a good job, we are told. The perks included high salaries, a generous expense account and a decent pension programme. The first two are long gone but retirement benefits are long-dated liabilities.

As the fortunes of local journalism have withered, pension obligations have become an albatross around the necks of publishing companies. On Thursday, newspaper group McClatchy announced it will file for a long-expected bankruptcy. McClatchy is carrying $800m in debt but it is the $500m of pension liability that proved too much to bear.

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