Friday, May 11, 2012

Howell | Mich. print plant closing to cost 30 jobs

One of Gannett's smallest papers, the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus in Howell, Mich., is closing the plant where it's been printed since 1988, and shifting that work to Ann Arbor Offset. The move is effective July 1.

General Manager and Executive Editor Rich Perlberg told the paper for a story: “This has nothing to do with the quality of work and the effort at the plant. They have done everything we have asked and then some. This is strictly a matter of economics brought on by changing times in a changing industry.”

The paper becomes only the latest to shift printing to other Gannett and non-Gannett sites in a bid to cut payroll costs.

The paper's weekday circulation is 11,213; Sunday is 16,400, according to the latest ABC figures, for March 31.


  1. "They have done everything we've asked and then some." Well, at least Perlberg seems like an exec who's at least a decent guy.

    But, yeah, in other words doing everything that's "asked and then some" never really mattered!

    Doing everything the execs "asked and then some" is not a means to keep your job anymore. Think about it. Great message.

  2. G A N N E T T

  3. WTF else is new..cut cut cut

  4. The Arizona Republic is looking for
    maintenance electricians. If you have a back round in repairing the electrical and electronic aspects of presses and mailroom equipment and you do not have a job you may want to apply.

  5. Farming out print production is saving Gannett some serious coin. A callous move if you are on the production side, but a smart business decision As long as Gannett can do this and get away with charging for substandard content, the fewer jobs will have to be cut (at least short term).

  6. 6:33 has the best humor yet. More posters need some. Apply for a job at Gannett, essentially as a peasant.

    After all, if anyone knows the history of social hierachy based on profit, peasants made kingdoms and then were slaughtered for complaining.

  7. The story barely scratches the surface. Those folks in Livingston have done a lot with very little for a long time. Certainly more than their wasteful supervisors in Detroit. My heart goes out to those in Livingston. They had the right people but the wrong company. Anyone who really works or worked for Gannett Michigan knows what I mean.

  8. If anyone really paid attention to all the plant closings and shifting of work, its quite apparent that these resources have been remarkably mismanaged for YEARS, sucking potential millions from GCI over the last several years.

    If people like Austin Ryan had been doing their job all along, they would have made these moves long, long ago. But no. So today these people do what they should have done years ago, and they are Corporate Heroes.

    Said differently, tally up their "big savings" over that last couple of years and go back 10 years and multiply the annual savings over that time period. THAT is the cost of this long-standing gross mismanagement of resources at Gannett.

  9. @8:56 – If you think that line of thought applies to all Gannett plants you’d be wrong as monies earned from commercial printing more than paid for the printing of many newspapers this company owned.

    Gannett failed by not consolidating its commercial sales efforts (and some plants) long ago and by applying a higher newsprint cost to non-Gannett customers as that practice lost work that would have further lowered internal printing costs.

    You also fail to admit and/or recognise that significant declines in core, organic press runs and a shrinkage in internal/commercial print products overall in recent years is why plant closures and consolidations are now more attractive.

  10. Gee 8:56, maybe you need to stop kicking the messenger, and pause long enough to think about the message.

    Was some or most of that "commercial printing" done for a much-hated newspaper (hint: its "iconic")? Thought so. Charging for Company-internal printing is not exactly commercial work.

    And the idea that most Gannett facilities were "organically" (please find better buzzwords, "organic" is overused and lazy) at capacity is pure bunk. Presses sitting idle for 36 hours or more (outside of a maintenance window) were and are mismanaged capital resources, plain and simple.

    That old-school "Newspaper Division" (now GPS) type of grandiose thinking was proven with the gross overbuilding of Rochester, Nashville, and Detroit, none of which ever came close to filling their "organic" capacity. So. What has current GPS leadership done to address the gross underutilization of resources at those plants?

  11. @7:29 PM – The messenger was “kicked” as you write because of what you missed and you confirm as much now with your reply, evidenced by its direction.

    Commercial refers to non-Gannett printing local entities like ours sold to area publishers (none of which were iconic), the revenues of which greatly lowered our own printing costs, something other Gannett plants profited from too. Inter-company printing helped many, though for us is was basically non-existent.

    Your leap with organic is wrong too as its usage in no way defines full-capacity plants, just an efficient way to describe core product production (i.e. newspapers and special sections). Though to your comment, one hopes you realize significant declines in Gannett’s own paid copies and page counts in recent years is what’s ultimately exacerbating an underutilization of printing plants now.

    And that’s were Gannett really failed as it allowed individual sites to manage and fill their capacity for too long versus what it finally attempts now through GPS.

    Admittedly, I think Ryan is an empty suit, but had Gannett pursued what he’s charged with now sooner, it would have profited more especially since closing plants and related costs like accelerated depreciation isn’t cheap, monies that could be used to buy even more stock back but I sarcastically digress.

    Instead, it continues to shut plants because it moved too slow – something this company excels at, and in part, that’s because Gannett never really recognized or cared about commercial customers below the “iconic” level which you likely ignore too. Unfortunately for Gannett, many of those smaller customers wound never trust them.


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.