Even more bad newspaper news

Now the bad newspaper news is that the News Leader is going to outsource its printing operations to Harrisonburg effective April 13.
“Two years ago, outsourcing the production might not have made much sense. But the production has a heavy cost and high overhead, and operating an aging press in this economic situation isn’t our best option,” Leader publisher Roger Watson said in a story posted on the paper’s website this afternoon announcing that move and the layoffs of eight full-time and 15 part-time employees.

The printing operations will be outsourced to the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg effective April 13, the paper reported Monday.

The layoffs will include press operators and other positions in the production department at the paper.

The move will push up print deadlines for the Leader significantly, the web story reported, pushing late sports events, government meetings and other breaking news from the print edition to the web.

Watson tried his best to put a positive spin on the announcement.

“Readers shouldn’t see anything noticeably different,” Watson said. “They’ll get their delivery around the same time, they’ll get the same news, and we’ll be at the same location at 11 N. Central St. We’ll just be printing off-site now.”

This news comes on the heels of an announcement last week that Gannett was instituting another round of weeklong unpaid furloughs for all employees in the second quarter. The company furloughed workers for a week unpaid in the first quarter to save a reported $20 million companywide.

The Leader also cut 15 positions from its workforce in December.


Story by Chris Graham

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