October 21, 2014 Last Updated 12:07 pm

Advance moves printing of The Times-Picayune to Mobile plant, 100+ to lose jobs

The printing facility of The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) will be shutdown and printing for the newspaper moved to its facility in Mobile, Alabama. The move will result in the loss of over 100 jobs, according to the report on NOLA.com.

NO-TP-front-120Advance Publications, Inc., which owns the newspaper in both New Orleans and Mobile, has been instituting a series of actions meant to cut costs, all the while stating that the moves are somehow intended to grow their digital publishing initiatives. Even this move, somehow has something to do with digital, the company said.

“We expect these changes will have no impact on our readers and advertisers. On the contrary, they will help us even better serve our audience in print and online and pursue new technologies,” Ricky Mathews, President of NOLA Media Group said, though be offered no explanation.

Advance a little over two years ago announced that would be cutting back on the print runs of its southern newspaper and create a new company called NOLA Media Group (which employees would then have to reapply to). The company described the new company as “a digitally focused company that will launch this fall and that will develop new and innovative ways to deliver news and information to the company’s online and mobile readers,” the company said at the time. “NOLA Media Group will be led by Ricky Mathews.”

As part of the restructuring of the company’s Alabama newspaper, 400 jobs were lost.

Back in the mid-nineties I worked for the McGraw-Hill Companies in a well run, profitable division. A new division president was brought in who believed strongly in “reengineering” – a term tossed about wildly by executives who always wanted to sound smarter than their employees, but often had no clue what the divisions they managed actually did. This new division president was so enamored by “reengineering” that he sent copies of a book to every employee. Those who bothered to read it began revising their resumes.

That president soon began making ill-conceived cuts to production facilities, editorial and sales that gutted the division. Most of the publishers left at that time (as did I) and soon enough that president was let go – but too late. McGraw-Hill sold off the division this year to a private equity company.

Advance is probably equally sure it is doing the right thing by cutting its production capabilities. But people are more than costs, they are potential. Publishers publish, these guys push pencils.

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