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BUTTE - The Montana Standard has laid off two full-time and four part-time employees as the paper's owner consolidates circulation customer service.

The Standard will be partnering with the Independent Record of Helena, the Casper Star Tribune in Wyoming, the Missoulian and The Billings Gazette to open a centralized customer service call center in Billings. The papers are owned by Lee Enterprises.

Janet Taylor, publisher of the Standard, said Monday the move will not affect local news and sports coverage.

The flagging economy and a decline in advertising revenue is leading to cutbacks in the newspaper industry. In September, the Standard laid off six employees.

The Independent Record recently announced two layoffs, but did not specify which departments were affected.

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