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Kamloops Daily News closes press, mailroom

February 25, 2011

The Kamloops Daily News is closing its press and mailroom over the next two months, according to a statement earlier this week by KDN publisher Tim Shoults.

Before I briefly weigh in, here’s the full statement:

Today is a sad day at the Kamloops Daily News.

Representatives of Glacier Media, the parent company of the Kamloops Daily News, served the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union Local 2000 notice under section 54 of the B.C. Labour Code that The Daily News will cease operations of both the press and mailroom within the next 60 days on Monday (Feb. 21).

Glacier has entered into a contractual obligation with Black Press to print and collate our publications in their plant in Vernon for the Daily News and the Kamloops Review.

These moves will utilize unused capacity at these plants and will allow significant savings for The Daily News operations.

It will also allow The Daily News to continue to focus on our core competencies of news generation, advertising sales, composition and publishing both print publications and online products.

The decision affects seven full-time staff and 24 part-time staff in the press and mailroom operations of the Daily News, representing a total of 19.3 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions.

The potential last day of operation of the pressroom and mailroom based on this notice is Friday, April 21, 2011.

Glacier Media remains committed to the newspaper business and the communities it serves and expects to maintain the strength of its publishing operations through focus and resource allocation to the core business disciplines.

It is with sorrow and sincere concern for our staff that we have reached these difficult decisions. We recognize the challenges that these decisions will provide to the individuals directly affected and their families, and extend our sincere thanks to them for their years of service.

It should be clear that we do not take these decisions lightly. We have worked hard to create a strong business in the interest of our employees, our readers, our clients and our shareholders.

While not as leveraged as some media companies, Glacier has debt and has few options but to reduce costs as a result of the loss of advertising revenue we have incurred during the recent economic downturn.

We do not anticipate that further significant adjustments of this type will be required but this is dependent on the length and severity of the current economic climate and its implications on our advertising revenues.

There is no joy in these decisions but a more secure future is promised through these actions for all of us.

–Tim Shoults, Publisher

Running a press these days clearly costs a newspaper money and, if you can have your paper printed elsewhere for less money, that seems to make financial sense—although it’s clearly not good for all those people employed in presses. In fact, it seems like something that was probably inevitable, at some point. I imagine it will affect deadlines at a daily paper, given that Vernon is 90 minutes away when the roads are good.

Given that it wasn’t too long ago that Glacier was talking about investing, the talk about cutting is worrying, as is the stuff about the current economic climate.

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