The decision to shift the printing site for the Journal-World was extremely difficult.
W.C. Simons came to Lawrence in 1891 to start a newspaper even though there were seven other newspapers being published at that time in the small river city with an estimated population of 9,500. He bought used, discarded equipment from the other publishers to start his paper.
Now, for the first time in 122 years, the Journal-World will be printed at a non-Lawrence location at the Kansas City Star, and this change means the termination of 33 jobs. As was noted in the news story announcing this action, World Company co-presidents Dan Simons and Dolph C. Simons III said, “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.”
Journal-World and World Company officers believe this move, as emotionally tough as it is, is the best action to assure the continued publication of a strong, vibrant newspaper for the Lawrence area.
The most difficult and troubling facet of the move is the lost jobs. These men and women have been exceptional members of our staff and have played a significant role in our successful operation in many ways, professionally and personally.
The Gannett Company decision to end the USA Today contract with The World Company marks the conclusion of a mutually rewarding relationship and was a significant factor in the decision to close the Journal-World print site. The relationship with The Gannett Company was good for both parties and, during the 30-year period, the Lawrence print site was cited many times for its overall excellence in printing and meeting high production standards.
Within the past few years increasing numbers of U.S. newspapers have closed their print facilities and moved this part of their operations to larger printing plants with newer, faster presses. The Topeka Capital-Journal followed this path and moved its print operation to the Kansas City Star in 2012.
The Journal-World enjoys a proud record of innovation and leadership in the newspaper business and moving its print operation to Kansas City will not diminish the company’s commitment to provide its readers with the best possible newspaper for a city the size of Lawrence.
The role of a newspaper in today’s society is immense and, in some ways, more important than ever. Those in the newspaper business should not take themselves too seriously BUT they should take their responsibility, as well as opportunities, extremely seriously.
A newspaper, whether in Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles or in cities such as Lawrence, must inform the public about what is going on in their communities in an honest, straightforward manner. Our system of government is based on the idea of an informed citizenry making wise decisions. Consider the state of our nation today and what we are witnessing in Washington as well as throughout the country.
Although some may disagree, newspaper staff efforts continue to be the best method of providing the public an accurate, balanced and thorough report of what is going on, whether in city hall, the statehouse, school board or on athletic fields.
The Journal-World print site is moving, but the company’s commitment to publish a good newspaper is as strong as ever – perhaps even stronger in light of today’s news and challenges.
Lawrence has great opportunities, as do Kansas University and the state. The Journal-World is committed to do what it can to help the city, university and state take advantage of these opportunities to reach their maximum potentials.