April 29, 2014 Last Updated 4:40 pm

Gannett says it will outsource printing of three Michigan papers to Advance Central Services

The publisher of USA Today said today that it had signed an agreement with Advance Central Services, an Advance Publications company, to print three of its Michigan newspapers: the Lansing State Journal, Battle Creek Enquirer and Port Huron Times Herald. The move will result in the elimination of 27 full-time and 76 part-time positions.

Once again a publisher pointed to digital as part of the reason for the move, though no new digital initiatives were announced.

Lansing-front-feature“Because we’re moving from presses that are nearly 40 years old to much newer equipment, print quality should improve, benefiting both readers and advertisers. In addition, our color capabilities and layout flexibility will increase greatly,” Brian Priester, publisher of State Journal, said. “We have no plans to cut back on days published. Our commitment to pursuing great local journalism on all platforms — in print, online and mobile — remains the same. This move is consistent with our long-term strategic plans and ongoing digital transformation.”

Advance Publications began establishing new, separate production companies along with new editorial units at each of its newspaper operations. The move forced the old employees to apply for positions with the new companies. For instance, Advance Central Services Louisiana provides support functions for NOLA Media Group, which handles editorial functions for The Times-Picayune (New Orleans). Prior to this, it was all simply together at the newspaper.

Gannett is now outsourcing its newspaper production at many of its newspapers. In January it announced it had signed a deal Halifax Media Group to print South Carolina’s Greenville News and North Carolina’s Asheville Citizen-Times. The move eliminated 42 full-time and 75 part-time jobs. In late February, the company said printing of The Advocate of Newark, Ohio and USA Today would move to The Dispatch Printing Co. in Columbus, Ohio. That move cost 45 full-time and 29 part-time jobs.

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