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D&C to close local printing plant, laying off employees and shifting printing to New Jersey

The Democrat and Chronicle building on East Main Street in downtown Rochester.
Emily Hunt
for WXXI News
The Democrat and Chronicle building on East Main Street in downtown Rochester.

The Democrat and Chronicle said that its printing plant at Canal Ponds Business Park in Greece will be closed in April, costing 108 employees their jobs and shifting publication of the D&C and other newspapers out of state.

In a web story posted on Wednesday, corporate owner Gannett said that as their business becomes increasingly digital and subscription-focused, the company is “making strategic decisions to ensure the future of local journalism and continue our outstanding service to the community.”

The company said that 57 full-time workers and 51 part-time employees began being notified on Wednesday of the pending end to those local printing operations.

The Democrat and Chronicle began printing at Canal Ponds in 1997 after decades of the newspaper being printed at the longtime Gannett operation on Exchange Street in downtown Rochester.

The D&C eventually will be printed in northern New Jersey. In recent years, the local printing facility has been printing a number of out-of-town newspapers, and those papers will be published elsewhere.

The changeover is scheduled to begin on April 11. Gannett said home delivery times for the D&C will not be affected, but the company said the greater distance required to deliver the newspapers will lead to earlier creation of newspaper pages each day.

Gannett said that most consumers now receive news through their digital devices, but Executive Editor Michael Kilian said that the D&C remains committed to serving "our loyal print readers through publication of relevant, insightful and compelling stories and photos.”

However, Newspaper Guild of Rochester co-chairperson and D&C reporter Justin Murphy said in a statement that Gannett's decision was "further proof of its fundamental disregard for the community it purports to serve." The union is in the midst of protracted negotiations for a new labor contract.

"These endless cost-cutting measures are necessary only because the company prioritizes shareholder profits and massive executive compensation ahead of the interests of its readers," Murphy said. "We once again call on Gannett to change course and invest in local journalism before it’s too late."

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.