Daily News Publisher Morris Quits

Robert Steven Morris has resigned as publisher of the Daily News after nearly two years in the job.

Morris, 37, declined to comment on his resignation. Lynne Jewell, public relations manager for the newspaper, also declined to answer questions on why Morris resigned, except to say that he plans "to pursue other business interests."

Morris' resignation comes amid a period of labor strife at the Woodland Hills-based newspaper. In April, reporters, photographers and copy editors voted overwhelmingly to elect the Los Angeles Newspaper Guild as their union representatives after a three-year organizing drive. Contract negotiations opened last Wednesday, a Guild spokeswoman said.

Morris was named publisher in August, 1987, by the newspaper's owner, Jack Kent Cooke, a sports and cable television multimillionaire who bought the newspaper for $176 million in 1985. Morris, previously vice president of advertising at the Denver Post, succeeded Byron C. Campbell, now publisher of the Record in Hackensack, N.J.

Cooke, who once owned the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings, could not be reached for comment. Jewell said the announcement was made by James Lacher, executive vice president of Jack Kent Cooke Inc. Lacher is a top executive in Cooke's organization.

In the six months ending March 31, the Daily News had circulation of 183,402 daily and 201,533 on Sunday, according to figures reported to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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