Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sheboygan | A belated goodbye to really Big Iron; dismantling press adds to shift away from printing

In its latest move toward an all-digital future, Gannett is dismantling the 188-ton Goss 5-Unit Anti-Friction press that printed The Sheboygan Press from 1956 until 1998, when printing moved to its sister paper at Fond du Lac. The remains are headed for the scrap heap, the Press says today in a story.

Fitting for the subject, the Press posted an abbreviated version of the story online, directing readers to a longer one in the print edition. Today's front page is dominated by a 1965 photo of the beast.

GCI has been winding down its printing operations for years now. By the end of last year, 68% of the company's U.S. community newspapers had outsourced printing to commercial printers or to other GCI and non-GCI papers, according to GCI's annual report to securities regulators. (In addition, 54% of the papers were being designed and paginated at centralized editing hubs, the report says.)

The report continues: "In the case of USA Today, 20 non-GCI printers were used to print the newspaper in U.S. markets where there are no company publishing sites with appropriate facilities. Non-GCI printers in 11 foreign countries publish and distribute an international edition of USAT under a royalty agreement. USA Weekend, Clipper Magazine and Gannett Healthcare Group are also printed under contracts with commercial printing companies."

GCI's commercial printing revenue, including from Gannett Offset, totaled about $254 million last year, down 2% from the year before and way down from $348 million in 2008. That was mostly due to due to "generally lower commercial printing revenue in the U.S. and U.K. and from the sale of a U.K. commercial printing business early in the third quarter of 2009."

Two months ago, GCI folded its printing operations into a large new division -- Gannett Publishing Services -- that also includes distribution and advertising artwork production and photo toning services.


  1. What the online story fails to mention is that the Press is now printed at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a non-Gannett newspaper. They didn't have room in the schedule for the Press at the Appleton print plant, where six other Gannett newspapers are printed.

  2. May be the smartest thing Gannett is doing. Customer service is ripe for attention. More leadership that understands the value of customer retention and policies that have hindered would help. Local marketing has lost flare,and that has done some to hurt individual nameplate brands and community standing.

  3. 2:18: It's not that local marketing has lost flare. In most Gannett markets, marketing has been eliminated entirely. There is No marketing leadership for USCP in the corporate office anymore. The marketing discipline is pretty much all but gone save for a handful off folks still left at the metro sized papers or a couple group sites (WI).


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