ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Democrat and Chronicle announced last week they’ll be closing their printing facility at Canal Ponds Park in Greece come April. For many local newspapers that rely on that facility — this presents a problem.
According to D&C and the NYS Department of Labor, a total of 111 employees (57 full-time, 54 part-time) will be laid off in April and have been notified.
The D&C announcement said that while it grows its focus on digital subscribers, physical copies of it and other Gannett papers in NYS—including the Star Gazette in Elmira, The Leader in Corning, and the Hornell Evening Tribune—will be printed in New Jersey.
The Finger Lakes Times and Times of Wayne County both print their newspapers through the Democrat and Chronicle’s facility. With the announcement of the closure, they’ll have to find somewhere else to print their papers.
This recent announcement not only affects the employees of the D&C, but it also hits businesses that rely on that facility to print their papers as well.
Ron Holdraker, Editor and Publisher of Times of Wayne County says it’s going to be tough for daily newspapers that either Gannett purchased or took over printing for in the next couple of years. The Times of Wayne County has been serving the community for 34 years and is a small, family operation with a circulation of 10,000 copies a day.
Holdraker says they’re just one newspaper that will have to get someone else to print and distribute their papers. He says, quote “we’ve already put out feelers to about a dozen different companies throughout New York, Pennsylvania, everywhere. And a couple of them are working up quotes and prices and delivery systems right now.”
The Finger Lakes Times is a daily paper that serves four counties and has been printed by Gannett for about five years. According to Publisher Mike Cutillo, who’s been with the company for about 40 years, their business will feel the effects heavily. He says it’s a major disruption, and quote “we used to have a printing press here in the building, but as a lot of smaller businesses did a few years ago, we got rid of that. It just wasn’t cost-effective anymore.”
As for whether or not closing the printing facility will kill newspapers – Holdraker says quote “We’ve got another decade, easy. We have a lot of digital subscribers, that’s increasing every day, but people still like to have that newspaper in their hands and read it.”
To be clear — the D&C will continue to print newspapers. And Mike Cutillo with the Finger Lakes Times said they’ll be having a call with a representative from Gannett to see what their options are moving forward.
A Gannett spokesperson responded to the announcement in a statement saying in part:
“As our business becomes increasingly digital and subscription-focused, newspaper printing partnerships have become standard. We are making strategic decisions to ensure the future of local journalism and continue outstanding service to the community.”