The Daily Progress will immediately shut down their printing operations in Charlottesville, having everything done at the Media General plant in Hanover County. Twenty five of the paper’s 120 employees—the entire printing crew—have been laid off. The newspaper’s aging press has required increasingly-expensive repairs, and the paper has been wondering what they’d do when the thing finally gave out for good. Another important factor in this decision must have been Media General’s demand that papers increase their profit margins; getting rid of a fifth of the staff and consolidating printing operations will go a long way towards doing that.
I have to wonder how much longer they’ll remain in their facility on Rio Road. The paper was long produced in the old Daily Progress building on Market Street (one block west of NBC 29), but they had to move to their current location in order to accommodate their then-new printing press. With the thinning of the once-crowded newsroom, they’ve now got 29,000 square feet, a whole lot more building than they have any use for. Valued at $4M, how long until Media General sells off their property for a one-time cash infusion and puts their remaining employees in rented space in an office park a ways out of town?