Stop the Presses

 Uncategorized
Mar 112009
 
Authors: Johnny Hart

Just more than a week after the Rocky Mountain News published its final issue, the Denver Newspaper Agency found a new printing client in the Fort Collins Coloradoan as the Gannet-owned newspaper announced it would contract out printing to the DNA, axing 48 positions.

In a meeting late Tuesday evening between the Coloradoan’s President and Publisher Kim Roegner, representatives from its Human Resources department and employees to be laid off, Roegner informed the cut employees of their fate.

“I think everybody is just taking it in right now,” said Jason Shores, assistant supervisor for Post Press, which will print the Coloradoan for the last time on May 11.

“It’s kind of shocking.”

Roegner visited each department Wednesday to answer lingering questions after informing non printing press employees via an internal memorandum.

The publisher said in an interview with the Collegian that the communication process has “been on-going with Denver (Newspaper Agency) for some time,” adding, “the dialog has been there for several months.”

“Denver (Newspaper Agency) is going to be a strong partner for us; they have a good, solid press,” Roegner said. “They are a good, solid partner for us.”

The Coloradoan will stop in-house printing 60 days from Wednesday, putting out its final paper from its presses in Fort Collins on May 11. At that time, the 48 laid off employees will begin receiving severance benefits.

Although Roegner declined to comment on the specifics of the severance packages, one Coloradoan employee who will lose his job because of the move specified that it employees will be paid one week’s salary for every year they’ve been with the company.

The DNA, Roegner said, will have the opportunity to hire laid off Coloradoan employees after the 60-day period, but she said the process would be up to officials in Denver.

Although Roegner said she did not anticipate any more changes to the company, which has seen it’s newsroom drastically cut in the last few months, she pointed to the current state of the industry as a factor in the move.

“Really, it’s been the continued down-spiral of the economy,” Roegner said.She added, “All signs pointed to this as the right time.”

In the internal memorandum obtained by the Collegian, Roegner said, “Consolidation of printing operations has proven an efficient way to reduce costs at many newspapers across the country, as our industry faces a difficult advertising environment.”

Also, Roegner said, “Although deadlines may require some minor changes, our goal is for our customers, both advertisers and readers, to not see any noticeable changes.”

Coloradoan Compositor Matt Varns echoed Roegner, saying, “Apparently (the DNA’s) press runs a lot faster than ours,” and deadlines shouldn’t be affected, although it will take time to finalize how efficient publication will be.

The building that houses the press and the press itself will be up for sale, according to Coloradoan officials.

Bob Moore, executive editor for the Coloradoan, said that along with the Coloradoan, the company’s family of publications, including the Loveland Connection and the Windsor Beacon, will also be printed at the DNA.

Denver Newspaper Agency Spokesperson Jim Nolan did not return calls made Wednesday afternoon.

Assistant News Editor Madeline Novey contributed to this report.

News Editor Johnny Hart can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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