Two earnings reports today that couldn’t be more different: while McClatchy Co. (MNI) reported bleak results, Reed Elsevier’s report could have been worse. Really.

Reed Elsevier, which owns Variety and a number of construction-related properties in the U.S., saw revenue in its Reed Business Information segment fall 8 percent but profits rise 32 percent thanks to “cost actions taken to streamline the business while the business returned to growth” (ahem). And since RBI spent most of 2010 cutting and closing magazines left and right, and spending money on the associated severance payments, it would be hard to imagine profits not going up the next year.

Meanwhile, McClatchy, which owns the Sacramento Bee, The Miami Herald, and more, reported another decline in revenue and profit. Revenues fell 8 percent, from $342 million in the second quarter of 2010 to $314 million in the second quarter of 2011. Income was $4.9 million, down from $7.3 million.

Digital advertising now represents 1/5 of McClatchy’s revenue, and that increased 1.6 percent in the quarter, compared with the 9.4 percent drop in revenues overall.

In the first half of 2011, McClatchy spent $12.2 million on severance.