Archive for Thursday, October 17, 2013

Lawrence Journal-World to move printing to Kansas City Star in January

October 17, 2013


Officials of The World Company, the parent company of the Lawrence Journal-World, announced today that for the first time in 122 years, the Journal-World will be printed at an off-site location. The current production plant at 608 Massachusetts St. will be closed Jan. 14, 2014, with the paper to be printed at the Kansas City Star in Kansas City, Mo.

Dan Simons and Dolph C. Simons III, co-presidents of The World Company, in a joint statement said: “This decision to move the production site was prompted by several factors. First, The Gannett Company notified The World Company it would end its 30-year USA Today printing relationship with the Journal-World in January. Also there is a steady trend in the newspaper business to move printing to larger plants with expanded printing and production facilities.”

The closing of the newspaper’s production/press operation will mean the elimination of 33 jobs. The Simons brothers said, “It is rare in today’s times a company can maintain a core technology for 122 years but the business model of printed news distribution has definitely changed and in many ways, it is unfortunate. We grew up with many of the individuals affected by this move and consider them our good friends.

“There is no way to sugarcoat this; it is painful. However, for the sake of the rest of the employees, we must continue to adapt to the changing business environment.”

The move is not in any way expected to impact the delivery time of the Journal-World.

The World Company’s four weekly newspapers, The Shawnee Dispatch, Tonganoxie Mirror, Baldwin City Signal and the Chieftain of Basehor and Bonner Springs, will be printed at The Examiner printing facility in Independence, Mo. The company’s commercial printing clients have been notified of the pending closure and alternative arrangements have been suggested for other daily newspaper customers.


Flap Doodle 6 months ago

The next step will be to reduce the number of days per week that there is a printed edition.


Richard Ballard 6 months ago

This is sad sad news.

Especially for the long term J-W printing department employees who will lose their jobs.

But not unexpected. The print newspaper business is not what it used to be.

And neither is the greeting card business I spent my working life at either.

For better, or worse? Digital media is about to steam-roller the old-time paper & printing press companies.



Wesley Willis 6 months ago

Down with the World Company!


LJ Whirled 6 months ago

An old business professor once told me something like this, "When people stop buying buggy whips, you have to stop making buggy whips and start making what people want to buy."

IMHO, It looks like The World Company has sold off its potentially profitable lines (cable, internet) so that they can keep making buggy whips. Now they are down to designing the buggy whips and have them made in Kansas City.

Too bad. The whole operation seemed well-run --- really a model. If that model can't make it today, then news is going someplace we aren't going to like.

I believe there will still be a market for a well-run electronic "newspaper", but there may not be any newspapers left to do it. Making buggy whips at the expense of a chance to leap into the future isn't going to help.

In any event, good luck, LJW.

ps --- Let your anonymous commenting community come back, if possible. That was a mistake.


Norma Jeane Baker 6 months ago

It seems that so many of you know more about how to run a business than a family that's been doing it for over 100 years. What business do you all run? I mean, surely we'd want to patronize you, too.

If you feel so strongly about this, start buying newspapers. Lots of them. Then buy some more.

The bottom line, no doubt, is: if the printing of the paper could be done in Lawrence without a financial loss, I'm sure it would stay here. My guess is that the numbers have been crunched more than once and it can't be done.

NEWS FLASH: Businesses are in business to make money, not to make you feel good. Sorry to burst your collective bubbles, but that's just the way it is.


Grégoire Guillaume 6 months ago

This is a bad move. We need to change the way business' are looked at. What's more important, 33 families loosing their means of support and the community loosing local buying power or the publishers making a few more pennies. This way of doing business is so destructive to local communities and really needs to be replaced with a people first approach.


Carlos Nash 6 months ago

Although I have only lived in Lawrence for nearly three years, popular discourse seemed to have framed LJWorld as a local/community-oriented business. However, this article -- in particular, its tone and wording -- strikes me as very cold and clinical. The focus seems to be on why printing is being outsourced to the Star: the ending of relationships with USA Today, and industrial trends. Even the discussion of the consequences are very cold: will not impact delivery time, the elimination of 33 jobs, and "no way to sugarcoat this".

LJWorld, what about the humanistic and community-oriented aspect? Have you made any attempts to include these individuals in this change of business model and environment? In other words, are there any attempts being made to maintain these job by reassigning "your good friends" to other duties within the business?


Mark Kostner 6 months ago

I can fully understand this move. I stopped reading physical copies of the newspapers because they piled up. I then completely got out of the habit. I am moving to a new house and actually needed papers to pack dishes and still used cloth instead. I asked a client in the paper business what was going on these days and he said that they were pretty much in packaging and boxes and operating with a fraction of their former workforce. The company I work for only uses paper for a few elderly clients who do not own computers. The post office is also operating at a lower level than before. We saved the trees! The LJ World sits on some of the most prime real estate in Lawrence so it will be interesting to see what becomes of that site. The train will no longer be dodging cars on Sixth, Vermont, and Mass. When I was in college 6th and Mass was an industrial area so an era ends with this printing shift.


Richard Heckler 6 months ago

" Also there is a steady trend in the newspaper business to move printing to larger plants with expanded printing and production facilities.”

This is no reason not to keep printing local. It's in Lawrence as we speak. The move is being driven by the feel of increased profits.


Greg DiVilbiss 6 months ago

Curious what the plans are for the printing facilities in Lawrence. How big is the building?


Joshua Montgomery 6 months ago

I'd like to throw this out there.......

If the business operation at LJWorld gets so bad that the Simons family is looking to sell the newspaper, please, please, please give the local business community an opportunity to purchase it.

Don't sell it to McClatchy,Tribune, Berkshire Hathaway or MediaNews Group without letting the local community have a shot first.

I often don't think much of the editorial staff's decisions, but I think everyone in town recognizes that having a locally owned and operated newspaper is a benefit to the community.


Wesley Willis 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.


M. Lindeman 6 months ago

Fact is for many years ljw has done there best to put a good spin on any local news leaving out the negitive issues of Lawrence. It was just a matter of time before a good chunk of people realized the bad that happens here they have to learn from a out city paper.


Marley Schnauzer 6 months ago

Guess now the solution is simply drop subscription to J-W and go to Star? Nope will just spend my money at NY Times.


Wesley Willis 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.


Lawrence Morgan 6 months ago

I hate to see these printing positions go. The Journal-World has done great work in keeping printing going in Lawrence for 122 years, and I wish it could continue.

I also commend the Journal-World for continuing to publish the Baldwin City Signal, The Shawnee Dispatch, Tonganoxie Mirror and the Chieftain of Basehor and Bonner Springs, all of which serve a valuable role in their communities.

I really wonder if this was really necessary? If the printing plant doesn't make a profit, but doesn't make a loss, wouldn't it be far better to keep the jobs and plant in Lawrence?


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