We (The Times) have been on pins and needles for the past two months.
We have been printed by the Gannett printing plant in Gates for nearly a decade. Then Gannett announced that their printing plant would be closing and moving the printing of the daily Democrat & Chronicle to another plant out of state. We expected the plant to close, but figured we had a couple more years before they pulled the plug. Gannett was moving away and did not offer us the option of following them.
Suddenly we and several other newspapers printed by Gannett were faced with the reality that there simply is no other printing facility within a hundred miles that could print and mail our size, format and schedule.
A search of printing plants gave us options of moving deadlines, printing a smaller size and worrying about delivery of both the mail copies and newsstand issues. After many weeks of discussions and disappointments, we discovered we had problems with every quote submission, including printing plants in Watertown, Oswego, and one in Massachusetts.
The Buffalo News was interested in printing the Times, but lo & behold, that was before it was announced their parent company was also shuttering their Buffalo plant and moving production out of state. Alas, that is the reality of the printed word everywhere in America.
Just by chance and with the input of other venders, we received a call from the The Times Union, serving the City of Albany, a Hearst-owned publication, with a printing plant in Albany.
They actually wanted the Times and courted us for several weeks. After many e-mails and phone calls, it was determined the Times of Wayne County had found a new printing home, beginning next week (3/19).
Not only was the technology, price and schedule met, but the same trucking company delivering the paper to the Post Office and newsstand copies from the Gannett facility, would make the trip from Albany to Wayne County!
The only changes would be that our newsstand delivery will be delayed by about an hour, from the previous Saturday morning delivery schedule.
The size of the paper will change only slightly and practically unnoticeablly and more color pages are being added. We are also adding new and more sources and stories/columns of varied interest.
To make the deadline for our printing time in Albany, we have to electronically send the pages no later that 3 p.m. on Friday. This new time crunch requires us to cut all submissions to - no later than 10 a.m. on Fridays. Except for breaking news, honestly, we are actually now finishing the entire newspaper production earlier than that. We would like to have everything submitted by Thursday night prior to the cut-off time.
Unfortunately, beginning with the April 2nd issue we are forced to raise the subscription rate to $50 yearly, $45 for Senior subscriptions. Still $20 for an online subscription. Newstand price remains the same.
We would like to thank all the Gannett printing/mailing plant employees for all their efforts over the past decade. All are either retiring, given the choice to move out of state, or out of a job due to the Gannett decision.
Now, I can let loose on the Gannett decision to move the Democrat & Chronicle printing out of state. Gannettt, through a series of acquisitions and mergers has decided the printed word is secondary to the digital world. The Company stock and profits(?) have been tied to closing/shedding newspapers, thinking their future is only in the digital world.
Gannett pins their hopes on Digital, stating their digital subscriptions now surpass the print edition of their paper. Of course, they ignore the fact that the printed Democrat & Chronicle is only a ghost of what Frank Gannett had built for generations in Rochester. Today, it is a paper of fewer local stories with input from other divisions of Gannett. What they don’t tell subscribers is that those increases in digital are due to the fact they are practically giving away digital subscriptions and promising an ad-supported digital future for news.
Bottom line, Gannett papers are failing/closing/cutting back, laying off journalists old and new and simply not giving readers what they want to read. (Actually holding a newspaper in their hands.) Large chunks of the country are now existing in what is being referred to as ‘news deserts’. That will NOT happen in Wayne County. We have proven that good journalism can be profitable, if you watch your “P’s and Q’s”.