Roanoke, Va., Daily Newspaper to Close Printing Plant, Eliminate 53 Jobs
It certainly hasn't been a pleasant Memorial Day holiday time period for printing industry workers in the Roanoke, Va., area. Last Friday, LSC Communications announced plans to permanently close its book manufacturing plant in nearby Salem, resulting in the July layoffs of 140 full-time employees (click here to read that article). And, yesterday The Roanoke Times announced that it is shuttering its newspaper printing and inserting production facility in early August, eliminating 53 pressroom and mailroom jobs (37 full-time and 16 part-time positions) in Roanoke as a result.
According to The Roanoke Times Publisher Terry Jamerson, printing of the daily newspaper will shift to The News & Advance, which is located about 60 miles away in Lynchburg, Va. Meanwhile, printing of advance sections, as well as the assembly of free-standing inserts for The Roanoke Times and some sister newspapers printed in Lynchburg, will be done at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The Roanoke Times article cited the Lynchburg production plant as having a more modern and efficient newspaper printing operation as the main driver of the consolidation, noting the up to 60 full-color page printing capabilities of the KBA Comet web offset press in Lynchburg, which first went live in February 2008 as part of a $26 million facility expansion. By contrast, The Roanoke Times is currently being printed on a Heidelberg Mainstream 80 web offset press, which was installed in 2003. (Heidelberg sold its Web Offset Division to Goss in 2004.)
“This is a decision we reached after careful study,” Jamerson was quoted in the newspaper. “The press we have in Roanoke is only one of two ever produced, thus we concluded that we could no longer depend on this equipment, which has experienced a litany of ongoing problems. We owe it to our readers to ensure reliable, dependable delivery of a quality newspaper for years to come.”