The Springfield News-Leader is in a period of transition following the recent buyout of its parent company.
Newsroom staff voted last month to establish a union, and now, the News-Leader’s printing operations are moving to Columbia.
Currently conducted at the News-Leader’s 651 Boonville Ave. office building, printing is scheduled to relocate to Columbia after the production of the local paper’s March 30 edition. The sister production operation in Columbia also prints the Columbia Daily Tribune, according to an article published yesterday by News-Leader staff members.
“This is without a doubt one of the most difficult decisions we’ve had to make to date,” said Allen Jones, upper Midwest regional president for News-Leader operator Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE: GCI), in the article.
The article pointed to plans to work with printing workers “to assist with seeking new employment, and opportunities will be made available to them, if possible, at other company locations.” The News-Leader’s news and advertising employees are not impacted by the decision, and the daily production of the paper also is not expected to be affected.
Jones could not be reached for comment by deadline.
The News-Leader’s editorial staff unanimously voted Jan. 31 to establish the Springfield News Guild.
The unionization efforts began following the recently finalized $1.1 billion takeover of Gannett Co. Inc. by GateHouse Media Inc. Gannett, which is the surviving company name through the merger deal, owns the News-Leader, USA Today and around 260 other daily papers. Corporate officials have identified some $300 million in annual cost reductions, The Associated Press previously reported.
At least one newsroom employee, former Editor Cheryl Whitsitt, has left the newspaper in the wake of the acquisition. Amos Bridges succeeded her in December 2019.
The expanded facility is expected to reach annual revenue of $650M.