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.


Lawrence Morgan 4 years, 7 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?

Randall Barnes 4 years, 7 months ago

ummm all printing is going to missouri. 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.

Wesley Willis 4 years, 7 months ago

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Wesley Willis 4 years, 7 months ago

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

Joshua Montgomery 4 years, 7 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.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 7 months ago

It's laughable to compare the Lawrence Journal-World with The Buffalo News. First off, The Buffalo News journalists have won three Pulitzer Prizes, and others have been finalists for three more Pulitzer Prizes. How many Pulitzer prizes have been won by journalists at the Lawrence Journal-World? And, no one at the Lawrence Journal-World has won an Editorial Cartooning award, much less two. And, another journalist at The Buffalo News won the New York State Associated Press Award, but journalists in Kansas have no chance of winning that award.

The Omaha World-Herald, a newspaper that Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) owns, has also won three Pulitzer Prizes. It's circulation is much larger than the LJWorld, and it's been profitable every year for the last ten years.

The Business Wire, another media site that BRK owns, is international, with distribution in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, London, and Tokyo, thus making the site available in seven languages.

So don't worry, BRK will not buy the Lawrence Journal-World. It is strictly a local newspaper that is of no interest to BRK, who is only interested in companies that are selling at least in the hundreds of millions of dollars, or billions of dollars. But, if there is a company worth that kind of money, BRK has the cash waiting.

Does our local business community have that kind of money? I mean really, after all, they cried and cried about only 14 million dollars for the library! That's pocket change for BRK, who would be expecting that much in profits every year.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 7 months ago

At a "Coffee With the Editors" meeting some time ago, I asked if something I read about paper newspapers some time ago is true. The answer was definitely YES!

The Lawrence Journal-World loses money on every paper edition printed. The losses on the paper editions are made up for by advertising, and paper editions are ideal for coupon printing for those who do not have a printer of their own.

Greg DiVilbiss 4 years, 7 months ago

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

Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 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.

Mark Kostner 4 years, 7 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.

Chris Bohling 4 years, 7 months ago

Well, now that Boulevard has been bought out too, Free State could just buy the whole block and increase their capacity tenfold ; )

Brady Pollington 4 years, 7 months ago

Chris ... great idea ... really good idea actually!

Carlos Nash 4 years, 7 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?

Grégoire Guillaume 4 years, 7 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.

Richard Ballard 4 years, 7 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.


Flap Doodle 4 years, 7 months ago

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

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