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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Headed for Missouri

Local newspaper printing site on the move, again

The Evansville Courier & Press print edition soon will roll off a press in Columbia, Missouri, following the announced shuttering of Pulliam Production Center in Indianapolis by Gannett Corp., owner of the Courier & Press for nearly eight years.

Gannett’s decision to close the Pulliam facility was first reported Jan. 31 by the Indianapolis Star, which has been printed there since 2001. The closure will happen in April, and, according to The Star, impacts about 90 workers. This follows another slimdown in early 2023 that, according to The Star, shed more than 50 plant employees. The Pulliam press has printed the Cincinnati, Ohio, Enquirer; Louisville, Kentucky, Courier-Journal; South Bend, Indiana, Tribune; and Muncie, Indiana, Star Press, among other newspapers.

Beginning with the April 9 issue, printing of The Star will shift to Peoria, Illinois.

But the Courier & Press is headed in a different direction. A Gannett communications official tells Evansville Business that a Columbia site will handle printing of Evansville’s newspaper, as well as the Henderson, Kentucky, Gleaner.

Columbia and Peoria both are around 300 miles from Evansville. Indianapolis is about 170 miles away.

A statement to Evansville Business from Gannett’s corporate communications department says the media company “will continue to evaluate potential synergies across our network of printing facilities as we focus on investing in our journalism and growth opportunities.”

Another statement provided by Gannett, from an unnamed Courier & Press spokesperson, says, “Our commitment to Evansville and the greater Vanderburgh County community is unwavering, as it has been since 1845. The staff at The Courier & Press will continue to provide readers with quality, local content that matters most to them, and to connect our valued advertising partners with the customers they want to reach. We deeply appreciate the many years of service our knowledgeable, skilled staff has dedicated to our Indianapolis facility.”

Gannett in 2016 became owner of the Courier & Press and Gleaner, which both joined the USA Today Network. The printing press at the Courier & Press’ longtime office at 300 E. Walnut St. closed in March 2017, and printing of the local newspapers moved to the Gannett-owned Courier Journal in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Louisville facility permanently closed in March 2021, and printing of the Evansville and Henderson newspapers went to Indianapolis. Those moves — part of cost-saving reshuffling measures after Gannett’s $1 billion merger with New Media Investment Group in 2019 — resulted in earlier deadlines for the publications’ printed content.

The Courier & Press office remains at 300 E. Walnut St., although the building now is owned by Evansville fiber optic company Metronet. In a Jan. 8 email to local media, roughly 10 Courier & Press employees announced their intent to unionize within the Communications Workers of America national labor union citing “slashed resources and jobs and the prospect that nothing will change without action.” The group — known as the Evansville News Guild — will join NewsGuild-CWA Local 34070, which represents employees of The Star and The Courier Journal, among others.

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Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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