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Newspapers stopping the presses

Gannett newspapers have been reducing workforce, newsprint costs and consolidating operations. Part of this includes papers closing their printing operations and outsourcing the job to other nearby Gannett properties.

• An editor with Gannett's Battle Creek Enquirer says, "We're still here!"

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In Florida, the Pensacola News Journal announced April 3 it would close its downtown production plant and outsource print operations to the Mobile Press-Register, a Newhouse paper in Alabama (P-R history). The move will result in the elimination of 84 full- and part-time jobs. The announcement came 60 days before the move. Employees staying through the final days will receive a severance package. "It is never easy to lay off dedicated workers, especially in this economic environment," PNJ publisher Kevin Doyle said. The story said the PNJ is the ninth Gannett-owned paper to outsource its printing.

In Virginia, The Daily News Leader in Staunton announced March 31 it would move its print operations to Harrisonburg. Eight full-time and 15 part-time jobs will be eliminated when the nearly 40-year-old press publishes its final edition April 13. News Leader publisher Roger Watson said deadlines would be moved up significantly. "These are dedicated and professional workers, and it is painful as a manager to let them go," Watson said of the people losing jobs.

In Colorado, the Fort Collins Coloradoan closed its printing press May 11 (story includes video) and began printing the Coloradoan and USA Today at the Denver Newspaper Agency. The move had been rumored for months and was confirmed shortly after a March 11 report on the Gannett Blog. The Agency prints several area papers and previously printed the Rocky Mountain News, which published its final edition Feb. 27. The Coloradoan reported the move would lead to the elimination of 48 jobs. The article also said the move will end more than a century of newspaper printing in the city. CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS.

In Mississippi, the Hattiesburg American published a Feb. 1 article detailing its immediate switch to printing the paper at The Clarion-Ledger, a Gannett daily located about 85 miles away. The move was first announced in December. The Hattiesburg plant will continue to print USA Today and some commercial print jobs until completely closing in a few months. The move eliminates 38 jobs. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO.

In North Carolina, the Asheville Citizen-Times closed its plant and is now printed in Greenville, S.C., by The Greenville News, a Gannett paper in Upstate South Carolina. According to a Jan. 4 article in the Citizen-Times the press has operated at its current location since 1986 and underwent a $3.5 million upgrade in 2007. The story also says about 60 people lost their jobs due to the closure, but "many" were offered and accepted jobs at the Greenville plant. The paper first reported this change in a Nov. 21 article.

A story from Mountain Xpress news said the press upgrade "replaced a big electrical panel with sleek computer controls that could make adjustments on the fly." Former Citizen-Times staffer Jason Sanford wrote the article and also added some commentary on the Ashvegas blog.

In Michigan, the Battle Creek Enquirer began being printed Jan. 5 at the Lansing State Journal, another Gannett newspaper. The Enquirer first announced the move Dec. 3 in announcing it was laying off 50 of its 105 employees (18 full-time, 32 part-time). The paper also ran its notice to employees. The paper is also consolidating its copy desk with The Times Herald, a Gannett paper in Port Huron, Mich.

The Enquirer covered the plant's closing in a Jan. 4 story, a column by Eric Greene. The Enquirer is a 109-year-old business.

In New York, the Poughkeepsie Journal moved its printing to The Journal News in White Plains. Journal Publisher Barry Rothfeld told Editor & Publisher the move will cost approximately 45 full- and part-time pressroom and mailroom jobs.

In Ohio, a Dec. 4 story in the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette announced that the Advantage Press in Carroll will close in February. The Press prints two Gannett papers, the Chillicothe Gazette and the Lancaster-Fairfield County Advertiser, and more than 30 commercial printing jobs. These Gannett publications will now join others being printed in Newark at the Newspaper Network of Central Ohio. The Eagle-Gazette is already printed at the Newark facility, having left its press more than a year ago, according to an Editor & Publisher story.

Overseas, Gannett-owned Newsquest is also shifting printing operations. And previously, the Gannett Blog reported Oct. 8, 2008 that The Leaf-Chronicle in Clarksville, Tenn., was closing its plant and moving its printing operations to the The Tennessean, and on Oct. 14, 2008 that The Baxter Bulletin in Mountain Home, Ark., moved its printing to the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo., eliminating 18 jobs.

Gannett-controlled papers consolidating

In Iowa, seven newspapers owned by Gannett-controlled companies are consolidating, suspending or shutting down operations. Marengo Publishing Corp. and Poweshiek Publishing operate three weekly advertisers, seven weekly newspapers and the monthly Involvement Magazine.

According to a press release from Marengo Publishing Corporation, the company "will repackage the seven newspapers into four weekly newspapers."

• The Brooklyn Chronicle and Montezuma Republican last published separately Dec. 31 and have now merged.

• The North English Record last published Jan. 1. It is now merged with The Williamsburg Journal-Tribune. North English news will be included as a separate page in the Journal Tribune.

• The Belle Plaine Union and The South Benton Star-Press merged Jan. 7. The press release says both papers have already shared several pages, but now operate as The South Benton Star-Press out of the Belle Plaine Union's office.

Subscription prices have also increased. The company said it had not increased subscription prices in three years and nine months.

Read more from the Iowa Independent and ScholarsAndRogues.com.

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