World drops weekly newspaper, editor from libel lawsuit
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
2/09/09 at 6:59 AM
Document: Read the letter from the Urban Tulsa Weekly to its readers.
The Tulsa World on Tuesday agreed to drop Urban Tulsa Weekly and its editor and publisher from a libel suit filed last week against the publication and columnist Michael Bates.
Bates remains a defendant in the lawsuit.
World executives said an agreement was reached to drop Urban Tulsa from the suit after the publication acknowledged publishing incorrect information about the World's circulation in Bates' column last week.
A letter retracting the information will appear in this week's edition of Urban Tulsa and on its Web site, according to Urban Tulsa Publisher Keith Skrzypczak.
World Publisher Robert E. Lorton III said the matter was of critical concern to him because of scandals in recent years involving inflated circulation figures at other newspapers. Lorton said the World is very careful to provide its advertisers with accurate audited circulation and readership figures.
Lorton said the World's attorney contacted Skrzypczak after the paper appeared on newsstands Jan. 14. Lorton said the World provided Urban Tulsa with the circulation audits in question.
After receiving no public retraction or indication that efforts were being made to retract the story, World Publishing Co. filed suit against Skrzypczak, Urban Tulsa's publishing company and columnist Michael Bates.
"No newspaper wants to sue another newspaper for libel, but when Urban Tulsa Weekly wrote that the World 'concealed' or 'inflated' circulation numbers, that reminded us of 2004, when the newspaper industry got a black eye after some major daily newspapers admitted to inflating their circulation," Lorton said.
"We stand by the numbers in our circulation audits, and those audits confirm that our advertisers received the circulation reported. We appreciate Mr. Skrzypczak's willingness to set the record straight on this issue."
Randy Krehbiel 581-8365