Say good bye to 160 union jobs.
Star Tribune to start printing Pioneer Press in 2014
By: DAVID PHELPS , Star Tribune
Updated: November 20, 2013 - 3:55 PM
Move reflects consolidation of newspaper printing facilities occurring nationwide.
In a consolidation move that is becoming increasingly common in the newspaper industry, the Star Tribune will begin printing the St. Paul Pioneer Press beginning in early 2014, the companies announced Wednesday.
Star Tribune CEO Mike Klingensmith said the agreement with Digital First Media, parent company of the Pioneer Press, is a significant expansion of Star Tribune’s commercial business and an important new revenue source.
The Pioneer Press, meanwhile, will reduce its labor force by about 160 people — 120 full-time equivalent jobs — and sell the printing press and real estate it currently owns in St. Paul.
“This printing contract with Digital First helps us expand that business model into commercial printing, diversifies our revenue, and strengthens our bottom line without compromising the schedules, journalistic integrity, or quality of the Star Tribune,” Klingensmith said in a statement.“We’re also pleased to be preserving more journalistic voices in our market, a principle that we fully support.”
For Pioneer Press, the move will reduce production costs without hindering its ability to produce a daily print edition.
“There is an industrywide effort to sell newspaper production facilities and consolidate production operations in a manner that better suits our needs,” said Guy Gilmore, publisher of the Pioneer Press.“The Pioneer Press remains fully committed to the communities we serve and will continue to deliver the relevant news and advertising information our customers demand.”
Earlier this month, the Dallas Morning News announced that it would start printing editions of the Fort Worth Star Telegram next year. Similar joint printing agreements are in place in Portland, Ore., Los Angeles and Chicago.
Under the five-year agreement, the Pioneer Press will be printed at Star Tribune’s Heritage facility in north Minneapolis. The transition will start in mid-January with completion by the end of February.
Newspaper analyst Ken Doctor said in an interview Wednesday the joint printing operation makes economic sense.
“As a newspaper publisher, the choice is to be in the printing business or get out of the printing business,” said Doctor, whose industry website is called Newsonomics.“If you own a press, you want to use it as a profit center and make money, not as a cost center.”
“Across the country, outsourcing arrangements such as this are becoming increasingly common as publishers seek to gain cost efficiencies,” Klingensmith said.