Progress Lays Off 25, Moves Printing to Richmond

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?

30 Responses to “Progress Lays Off 25, Moves Printing to Richmond”


  • They keep this up and pretty soon they’ll not be a “local” paper.

  • I wonder how they come up with the name “Daily Progress anyway? It always seems to me that it’s one step up and two steps back with those guys. But hey, that’s the newspaper biz.

  • Yeah, the Daily Progress is teetering on the edge of non-localness.

    If The Hook was my newspaper, I would start putting out an extra issue a week and maybe begin tweaking things a bit to make it appeal to a broader audience. When the Progress finally does go completely to hell, there’s going to be a golden opportunity for an enterprising sort to fill that gap in Charlottesville/Albemarle market.

  • Man, this is bad.
    DAMN.

  • I smell a boycott coming on. The sooner this non-local operation stops operating, the better.

  • Nah. Effective advertising is effective advertising. As long as the Progress is the area’s only daily paper, and as long as advertising there is effective, it’ll do just fine.

  • How depressing. I always thought it was cool hearing the presses running late at night when you got stuck there for some reason. And it was one of the first things I showed people when I gave them a tour of the building. A printing press is a hell of a lot more impressive than a messy cubicle with an internetless computer. And when you had a story you really wanted to see, if you were nice to the press guys, you could go in there and get a fresh copy, still warm.

    Condolences to the printing crew and everybody else. It must be like a ghost town in there. Anybody see these?

    http://gawker.com/tag/photography/?i=383277&t=picturing-the-death-of-a-newspaper
    http://gawker.com/tag/photography/?i=5022006&t=the-empire-struck-back-and-laid-me-off

  • That paper is going to hell in a handbasket. Worst thing ever happened was when it was bought by Media General(not that Worrell Corp were angels-but at least were local people).
    One thing if a business is struggling, a Mom-and-Pop operation barely making ends meet.But this is a major corporation-doing this because they want a bigger profit margin and to hell with their loyal employees and their readers. There is a name for this-Greed.
    Theodore Roosevelt must have had this sort of thing in mind when he coined the phrase “malefactors of great wealth”.

  • Maybe if they move all the way to another city, we won’t have to say that they are our local paper anymore.
    Or maybe they could actually put up a decent website.
    You know since it’s the 21st century and all.

  • Haven’t you guys heard? It’s sooo early 2000s to criticize the local newspaper. Print is in, people! It’s time to rally around the DP!

  • Nah. Effective advertising is effective advertising. As long as the Progress is the area’s only daily paper, and as long as advertising there is effective, it’ll do just fine.

    well, that’s the rub with print advertising.

  • I blame those damn bloggers for putting out a better and more efficient product for the decline of print.

    ;-)

  • As a Progress part-time employee during the pre-Internet era, it’s interesting to see how the computer world impacts the Progress. You don’t need to print the news where you gather it anymore. So I’d like to see the Progress move from Rio Road to several satellite operations in the area.
    You might need the business office, advertisting and ad layout in one area, (maybe Pantops) but the news room and sports oould be anywhere there’s a computer. Put Jerry Ratcliffe and the sports guys in JPJ or Scott Stadium. Put a small office in Fluvanna and use other Media General properties in Madison and Orange for staff in those areas.
    Within five years, there might just be one printing press for Richmond, Charlottesville, Lynchburg and other Media General operations in Virginia. (Can’t wait to see that schedule).

  • “Within five years, there might just be one printing press for Richmond, Charlottesville, Lynchburg and other Media General
    operations in Virginia.”

    Printing operations of Waynesboro’s paper has been shifted to the Lynchburg paper, which just finished installing a massive full color press. MG invested ~ 45M on the project so I doubt that production will be shifted from that facility, but more printing operations will likely find their way to both Richmond and Lynchburg in the future.

  • So I’d like to see the Progress move from Rio Road to several satellite operations in the area.

    You might need the business office, advertisting and ad layout in one area, (maybe Pantops) but the news room and sports oould be anywhere there’s a computer. Put Jerry Ratcliffe and the sports guys in JPJ or Scott Stadium. Put a small office in Fluvanna and use other Media General properties in Madison and Orange for staff in those areas.

    You make a pretty good point. With printing outsourced, and copy moving around electronically, there’s just no compelling reason to keep advertising staff in the same building as the reporters. Or, rather, it’s possible to split them up if there are compelling reasons to do so. Reporters should be stationed close to the population, which is to say, back downtown again. Advertising staff can be just about wherever, I suppose. With the staff librarian laid off, and the electronically-accessible archives increasing in size by the day, there’s decreasing need for the physical archives.

  • All in all, I would rather get the DP on my Kindle.

  • Re Waldo’s point about the archivist losing his job: Anybody know how they’re doing archives there these days? Or finding the stories that are already filed? For some reason I’m feeling like they didn’t go to the trouble of scanning and cataloging every old story in the cabinet.

  • A Majority of companies don’t care about you, or your situation. It’s all about the ones at the top, the self-absorbed fat executives. Get used to the idea that most of the tasks and fuctions are being set overseas, and that will continue to be the trend. Pull up your boot straps and get in the foxhole. It’s gonna be one hell of a ride… JC

  • Or climb out of the foxhole, march back to Petrograd and take over the gov’t.

    Haha. Seriously, the blue-state strategy of public investment and high education creates long term economic growth, seems to me. The red-state fire sale economy sounds good as ideology but in practice those states are the ones sucking off the federal gov’t, net importers from the federal budget that is. Norway is a good blue-state model. Lots of natural resources (oil) like the USA but they pushed the hardest bargain against the oil companies anywhere.

  • My mother-in-law is prepared to boycott with me….she just needs to figure out where else to read obituaries…seems like a previous conversation on this blog.

  • The guy who started monster.com is now working on a well-funded obit site.

  • Cynic and MikeJ,

    An FYI for your boycott, we contract with Legacy.com to handle our online obituary process. If you search Legacy.com for local obits your selection will be opened on DailyProgress.com.

    -Matt

  • I know http://www.legacy.com is used by a lot of newspapers. But the newspapers usually just get information from funeral homes. If someone could get funeral homes to directly send them obituary material, the newspaper middleman would be left out.
    People in the bigger cities might like to have more than two paragraphs about their loved ones, which people in small towns are used to having.

  • I just found http://www.obituary.com, which also lists obits from The Progress. I agree, MikeJ, that people generally want to say more about their loved one than is allowed by a newspaper. This might be a good business venture for someone.

  • sorry, that’s http://www.obituaries.com, not obituary

  • I don’t find the DP any worse than any other daily paper. And, the DP has been known to print extremely long obits.

  • The obits now dominate the A section, and lots of people buy the paper to check the obits, but ironically the Prog has let them go to hell in the last few years. Let’s face it, the relatives are writing crap and the Prog is not editing it. Money maker. Those things used to follow a standard format, even when paid for. Just another case of pissing in the pool. Or pissing in your pants to get warm in a snowstorm. So they cashed out for a few years, but the paper starts to look like a supermarket throwaway, then what happens?

  • I have always thought the long obits were paid space.

  • They are. My wife and I didn’t even run a marriage announcement a couple of years ago, because we were amazed at how expensive that was.

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