Kansas City Star

Updated at 10:12 a.m. ET

The long slide in the U.S. newspaper industry took another dramatic turn Thursday.

Six months after suing The Kansas City Star and columnist Steve Rose for defamation, Kansas Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning has seen all of his claims thrown out.

Earlier this month, Johnson County District Judge Paul Gurney tossed Denning’s defamation claims against The Star, finding he had failed to show malice.

And on Tuesday, he did the same thing with Denning’s claims against Rose, finding that Denning had failed to meet his burden of proof under the Kansas Public Speech Protection Act.

A Johnson County judge on Tuesday tossed out a defamation lawsuit brought by Kansas Sen. Majority Leader Jim Denning against The Kansas City Star, finding Denning failed to prove malice.

Judge Paul Gurney also ordered Denning to pay the newspaper’s attorney fees, which could run as high as $40,000.

Gurney ruled that Denning had not met the requirements of the Kansas Speech Protection Act, which is designed to end meritless lawsuits that target the exercise of free speech.

McClatchy Co., the parent company of The Kansas City Star and the Wichita Eagle, is offering buyouts to about 10 percent of its workforce.

In an email to employees on Friday, McClatchy President and CEO Craig Forman said the company was “rolling out two major initiatives,” including “a voluntary early retirement program for qualified colleagues, as we continue to align the size of our workforce to the changes that come with digital transformation.”

The email said about 450 McClatchy employees would be receiving “a voluntary early retirement offer today via email.”