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CEDAR RAPIDS — The Gazette will transition nightly printing of its newspaper to Des Moines next month following a decision to cease newspaper printing operations at Color Web Printers.
The decision was communicated with employees this week. The closure of the newspaper printing operation affects 34 full-time and eight part-time employees of the print facility, 4700 Bowling St. SW. Affected employees will receive outplacement and other transition assistance.
The change comes because of increased printing consolidation industrywide and the end of several long-term printing contracts.
“This was a very difficult decision, because it affects our fellow employee-owners, many of whom are longtime employees,” said Folience CEO Daniel Goldstein. “But the changing economics and consolidation of the print industry necessitates this.”
The digital print production operation — as well as distribution teams — were not affected by the closure and will continue operating at the Bowling Street facility until a future location is identified.
Efforts are underway to sell the company’s Goss printing press, while the company’s long-term plan would be to lease or sell the facility.
Printing will be transitioned to Gannett Publishing Services in Des Moines, which publishes The Des Moines Register, Kansas City Star and other publications. The Gazette — along with the Pennysaver, Southeast Iowa Union and associated shoppers — will print in Des Moines for the first time with the Aug. 26 edition.
The Gazette will adjust its nightly press time by about 90 minutes most nights to adjust to the changes, though delivery times will remain unchanged.
“We remain just as committed to serving the local community as we ever have and are planning some changes that should increase content in some areas of the paper. We’ll detail some of those changes closer to the transition date,” Gazette Executive Editor Zack Kucharski said. “We’ll also be using our digital platforms of thegazette.com and Green Gazette to make sure readers have access to late-breaking news and sports.”
At least 10 other newspapers have announced print outsourcing deals so far in 2021, according to News & Tech, a printing trade publication. That’s on the heels of more than 19 in 2019.
“While there is no doubt convenience in having a printing press down the street, there is absolutely a cost to having it,” said Kelly Homewood, Gazette director of operations. “This is an essential step as we work to position the media company in what is a digital future.”
Folience is the parent company of The Gazette and Color Web Printers in Cedar Rapids, the Southeast Iowa Union in Washington, Life Line Emergency Vehicles in Sumner, and Cimarron Trailers in Chickasha, Okla.