Columbus Dispatch to print in Indianapolis

The Columbus Dispatch is relocating its newspaper printing from Columbus to a facility in Indianapolis, the paper reported.

The March shuttering of the Dispatch printing facility, at 5300 Crosswind Drive, will impact 188 employees, the paper said. The closure won’t change the delivery of the paper. The paper’s news and advertising staffs will stay local, the paper said.

The move follows GateHouse Media’s $1.4 billion purchase of Gannett, which was completed in late 2019. The merged company uses the Gannett name. GateHouse had bought the Dispatch in 2015.

The Gannett-owned Cincinnati Enquirer and Kentucky Enquirer are now being printed in Louisville, the Dispatch said. Those papers had been printed in at the Columbus facility for five years. Various smaller Gannett papers in Ohio are also printed in Indianapolis.

The move means earlier deadlines and a shift to the traditional broadsheet size for the Dispatch and the Enquirer. Both papers had switched to compact formats in the mid-2010s.

Herald-Times to print in Indianapolis

The Herald-Times (Bloomington, Indiana) is relocating its newspaper printing and production from Bloomington to a plant in Indianapolis that prints the Indianapolis Star, the paper announced.

The paper’s news and advertising teams will stay in Bloomington.

The move will likely mean some layoffs, but the number has not been set, the paper said.

The change will take place in February.

“This was not an easy decision at all, and in no way a reflection on the dedicated and talented staff that have produced our newspapers for so many years,” said General Manager Larry Hensley. “The financial reality is that we must make these difficult decisions to sustain our future and to continue to be the dominant source of local journalism in our communities we serve.”

GateHouse bought the paper in January 2019. The move follows GateHouse Media’s $1.4 billion purchase of Gannett, which was completed in late 2019. The merged company uses the Gannett name.

Sen. Wyden urges FTC to probe ad-blocking

industry

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) wants the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the ad-blocking software industry.

“Hundreds of millions of consumers around the world have downloaded and installed software tools that purport to block online ads. In turn, the largest ad companies — including Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Verizon Media — have quietly paid millions of dollars to some of the largest ad blocking software companies in order to be able to continue to track and target consumers with ads,” Wyden says in a letter to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons.

“In 2011, Adblock Plus, one of the most popular free ad blocking tools, stopped blocking all ads by default and instead started to display ads in return for substantial payments from the largest ad companies,” the letter said. Adblock Plus is made by Eyeo, a German company.

The FTC said it had gotten the letter, the Verge reported.

Star-Banner moving print to Gainesville

Printing of The Star-Banner will move from Ocala (Florida) to The Gainesville Sun in February, the Ocala paper announced.

Gannett owns both papers.

Local news and advertising employees will stay in Ocala, the paper said. The move won’t change deadlines for the paper.

Printing of other papers done at the Ocala site, including the News-Journal in Daytona and the Orlando Sentinel, will move to the Ledger, a paper in Lakeland, the Star-Banner said.

The Gainesville and Lakeland sites have equipment with more capacity, which played a part in the move, according to Publisher Rynni Henderson.

The paper did not report the number of production layoffs involved. No news or advertising jobs were lost, according to Henderson.

Staff in Ocala will be invited to apply for positions created in Gainesville and Lakeland because of the change, the paper said.

Henderson said the move will mean a cost savings that will let the papers preserve “vital journalism jobs.”

Metro Boston shuts down

Metro Boston, a free daily started in 2001, has closed, the Boston Business Journal reported.

“After 19 years in Boston, we are sad to announce the closure of Metro Boston, effective today,” publishers Ed Abrams and Susan Peiffer wrote in a message to readers, according to Boston.com.

The New York Post reported in early January that the New York-based Schneps Media bought the paper’s two sister publications — Metro New York and Metro Philadelphia.

Metro New York was subsequently joined with another daily to create amNewYork Metro.

“We no longer have access to centralized resources, and a difficult decision had to be made,” Abrams and Peiffer wrote.

The commuter paper had daily circulation of 50,000 for its Monday–Thursday editions, according to The Boston Globe, which partly owned the paper until 2013.

Mayor Marty Walsh dubbed the shuttering “a loss for the Boston community.” Seattle Times to cut 42 as it sells plant

The Seattle Times has filed a federal WARN Act notice informing workers that it will cut 42 employees at its North Creek printing plant in Bothell in March, Seattle Business reported.

The daily announced last spring that it would shutter the plant and sell the property to fund news operations. The paper said at the time that around 150 people worked at the plant. Some employees from the North Creek facility were expected to move to the Seattle Times’ plant in Kent, the paper had announced previously.

The Seattle Times’ owners, the Blethen family, sold four properties for $88 million between 2011 and 2013, including the daily’s old newsroom, Seattle Business said.

A sale ad for the Seattle Times North Creek plant from Windemere Commercial said the sale is being managed by Century Pacific at a listing price of $45 million. The ad says the property is a 352,259-square-foot industrial facility on 23.7 acres.

LA-based newspaper Gidra reborn

Gidra, a Los Angeles-based cultural, creative and political vehicle for radical Asian Americans, has been reborn. The newspaper was first published in 1969 by five UCLA students who each put up $100 of their own money. The name comes from the “Godzilla” film dragon Kingu Gidora, says Los Angeles Magazine.

Gidra was originally in print for five years, says Los Angeles Magazine.

Gidra started a year after the term “Asian American” was coined by Yuji Ichioka, historian and UCLA professor.

The founders of the paper along with the Asian American political movement were inspired by the Black Panthers and black student movements of the 1960s, according to Gidra.

The return of Gidra was sparked in May 2019 as a diverse group of Asian American and mixed Asian American activists and students from UCLA and USC met.

Portland Tribune cuts back print,

launches paywall

The Portland Tribune (Oregon) is making changes, including putting its website behind a paywall and producing one print edition a week, cutting back from two. The changes were set to go into effect the week of Jan. 1.

Pamplin Media Group, owned by Robert Pamplin Jr., owns the Tribune, along with more than 20 other publications. Group President Mark Garber announced the changes on the paper’s website Dec. 19.

Within the city of Portland, the print edition of the expanded Thursday Tribune will remain free at newsstands, the paper said. In the suburbs, the Thursday print edition will be more widely available in retail stores and will cost $1, which covers some of the expense of distributing the paper outside Portland, according to the paper.

The paper cited “continuing waves of change” in the industry as prompting the changes.

Hearst’s Register Citizen closes

Torrington office

The Hearst-owned Register Citizen (New Haven, Connecticut) closed its Torrington office in December, the Republican-American reported.

The paper will still publish for print and on its website but the paper’s only reporter will work from home, in New Milford, the Republican-American said.

The Register Citizen has been a property of Hearst Connecticut Media since 2017. Before that, it was owned by Digital First Media.

McClatchy skips debt, pension payments

McClatchy skipped a $12 million debt-interest payment due Jan. 15. The company also missed a pension payment. Mc-Clatchy, the second-biggest newspaper publisher in the country by circulation, said the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the U.S. government’s pension insurer, had said it would not take action until Feb. 18, as talks are ongoing for a government assumption of the retirement fund.

The move won’t change payments to retirees already collecting pensions, the company said, WSJ reported.

McClatchy has been in active restructuring negotiations with substantially all of its secured lenders and bondholders, as well as the PBGC, as it aims to stave off bankruptcy.

As of Jan. 15, the company’s stock was down 94 percent in the past year, WSJ reported.

McClatchy and its newsrooms are operating as usual, the company said.

In its third quarter earnings report released in mid-November, McClatchy said it plans to cut Saturday editions of all of its 30 publications in 14 states by the end of 2020.

Martinez News-Gazette closes

The Martinez News-Gazette (Contra Costa County, California), established in 1858, printed its final edition Dec. 29.

“Goodbye. News-Gazette closes — now what?” read the banner headline on the last edition.

“Not to pat ourselves and say we’re winning Pulitzers, but we are covering those issues that nobody else is covering at all,” Rick Jones, managing editor of the paper, told KQED News. “Anything happening now, unfortunately, it's not going to be covered. That's the news hole.”

The paper was operated by six staffers and has been publishing biweekly, KQED said.

Gibson Publishing, owner of the News-Gazette and the closed Rio Vista News-Herald, does not appear to be planning to sell the paper, Jones told KQED.

Four Maine papers going to digital Mondays

Beginning March 2, four Maine papers will deliver their Monday editions in digital format only, the papers announced.

The four papers are the Press Herald (Portland), Lewiston Sun Journal, Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal.

The move “saves significant dollars in newsprint and delivery costs needed to offset declining advertising revenue and newsstand sales and increasing expenses, including health insurance,” wrote Lisa DeSisto, publisher of the Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel and chief executive of Masthead Maine. The move allows the papers to maintain current staffing levels in its newsroom, she wrote. A post directed at Lewiston Sun Journal subscribers said the same thing.

Statesman ceases publication

The Statesman (Chandler, Texas) announced that it would stop publishing with its Dec. 12 issue.

The paper cited a decline in ad revenue and subscriptions in the industry in a short story on the closure.

“For a time, small newspapers like ours were protected from the decline because of how specialized our content is. But in recent years, those losses have also increased. Even with making cost cutting measures, it just has not been enough to offset lost revenue,” owner and Publisher Betty Abendroth said in a short story on the closure.

The Statesman was launched in 1976, led by Roger Perry, the paper said. In 2005, Bluebonnet Publishing bought the paper. In 2015, Faith 3 Media bought the paper.

“I want to thank those local businesses that have been regular advertisers with us. We also thank the newspaper’s subscribers and express our appreciation for their support. It saddens me that this decision has had to be made,” Abendroth said.

Tribune Publishing offers buyouts

Tribune Publishing is offering voluntary buyouts to all staff employed for eight or more years, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The move is aimed at avoiding “turning to company-wide reductions of the workforce as a last resort,” Tribune Publishing CEO Tim Knight said in an email to employees.

New York hedge fund Alden Global Capital became the biggest shareholder in Tribune Publishing in November. Tribune Publishing then added two Alden representatives to the newspaper company’s board, making it eight members. Alden is barred from boosting its stake in the company to more than 33 percent until the end of June.

Tribune Publishing had some 4,100 full-time employees at the end of last year, according to the company.

Tribune Publishing owns the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Hartford Courant, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun Sentinel, New York Daily News and other papers.

Toronto Star to stop print of

commuter papers

The Toronto Star is ceasing to produce print editions of its StarMetro commuter newspapers in five Canadian cities, the paper announced, with the final editions out Dec. 20. Seventy-three jobs will be lost, the CBC reported.

The Free Daily News Group published StarMetro papers in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto. StarMetro Halifax operated with a joint venture arrangement and will also shutter.

The StarMetro papers are Canada’s last large free English-language commuter daily papers, the Star says.

People in the five cities will have access to local news on the Star’s website, its mobile app and through its newsletters, the Star said. The Star has offered a special deal for StarMetro print readers who want to subscribe for digital access to the-star.com .

Tribune Publishing closing Hoy

Tribune Publishing is stopping production of Hoy, its Spanish-language newspaper, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Print and online production were set to stop Dec. 13, the company said.

In 2017, Hoy switched from three days a week to weekly production. The paper was started in 2003, taking the place of Exito, which the Chicago Tribune launched in 1993, the paper says.

The paper had around a half-dozen staff members. All affected employees should have the opportunity to take open positions inside the company, said a spokesman for Chicago-based Tribune Publishing.

The Hoy brand first emerged in New York in 1998. In 2000, Tribune Co. bought Hoy New York as part of the purchase of Times Mirror, which also owned the Los Angeles Times, the Tribune reported. In 2007, Hoy New York was sold to Impre-Media. In 2018, Tribune Publishing, going by the name Tronc, sold Hoy Los Angeles along with the Los Angeles Times to billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong. Tribune’s closing of Hoy Chicago doesn’t touch Hoy Los Angeles, the Tribune said.

Tribune Publishing will grow Spanish-language content with the syndicated Tribune Content Agency and is looking at other options to serve Hispanic readers, the spokesman said.