This isn't a story that Pulitzer (NYSE:PTZ) would want to lead with in large, bold print across the front page of its St. Louis Post-Dispatch or Arizona Daily Star today. The publisher of the two major dailies, 12 smaller dailies, and dozens of weeklies reported that profits slipped into losses during its third quarter, thanks to a different interpretation of an accounting standard.

The net loss at the St. Louis-based publisher totaled $16.6 million or 77 cents a share compared with net income of $8.7 million or 40 cents a share during the same quarter last year. Pulitzer said that the loss included a charge of $26.9 million or $1.25 a share for the change of an accounting principle concerning how to record minority interests in certain joint ventures.

But that's not the only problem at Pulitzer. Revenues slipped to $103.3 million from $103.5 million last year thanks mainly to a slow advertising market. The company also recorded higher expenses during the quarter because of "employment termination inducements" -- commonly referred to on its own business pages as "job cuts."

Pulitzer may also soon face labor problems. Union workers, including editorial staff, at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have already held at least one informational picket. The workers claim that the publisher is trying to break the union by allowing a right-to-work clause into the contract. Pulitzer said that it is trying to deal with rising costs of such things as health care.

The labor strife is just one story that hasn't been covered heavily by Pulitzer. Readers shouldn't expect to see its latest quarterly results on tomorrow's front page. They'll have to dig to one of the back pages in the paper's business section or read about it here on The Motley Fool.

Brian R. Hook is the publisher of St. Louis-based He can be reached by email at