News Local/State

Outsourcing Of Printing Marks News-Gazette’s Adjustment To Changing Media Landscape

The News-Gazette pressroom building in Champaign.

The News-Gazette pressroom building in downtown Champaign. The 1970's-era building is set to close later this year, when the News-Gazette prepares to outsource its printing to the Journal-Star in Peoria. Jim Meadows / Illinois Public Media

Champaign-Urbana’s daily newspaper, the News-Gazette, will make a big change later this year, when it outsources its printing work to the Journal-Star in Peoria. The News-Gazette will close down its downtown Champaign pressroom, with its 1970's-era Goss Cosmopolitan printing press. The paper will also close its ten-year-old packaging and distribution facility in north Champaign. Newspapers that contracted with the News-Gazette for printing services, including the University of Illinois student newspaper, The Daily Illini, will have to find those printing services elsewhere.

The News-Gazette is just the latest daily newspaper to get out of the printing business, as it changes its identity from a newspaper company to a media company.

John Reed is the CEO of what is now called News-Gazette Media, which also includes eight weekly newspapers, three radio stations, two magazines and several related websites.

In an interview with Illinois Public Media's Jim Meadows, Reed says the name change recognizes that the News-Gazette is not just a newspaper that also owns some other businesses. Instead, he describes it as a provider of "news products that we create out of essentially a centralized news organization, bringing more resources to bear on the news-gathering process and then using the appropriate platform — be it print, radio or digital — to get the story out to the public."

Reed says another change coming in the few months will be the moving of its radio studios from a location in southwest Champaign to the News-Gazette's Stevick building, alongside the newspaper's editorial and business offices.

News-Gazette officials say the move to oursource printing to Peoria will eliminate about 35 printing and production jobs. Teamsters Local 568M is in negotiations with the News-Gazette on a severance package for the workers, and recently organized an informational picket outside the News-Gazette's main building to call attention to the layoffs.

Reed says the advent of digital media has changed how readers get their news. For many News-Gazette readers, the newspaper exists online, especially when it comes to breaking news.

But Reed says while the News-Gazette will no longer print its own newspapers, print media is not going to disappear. 

"While digitial has certainly reached a point where it's reaching every bit the number of people that the print edition is," said Reed, "and it continues to grow at a pace faster than print, i don't see anywhere on the horizon where I'm not going to be publishing a printed newspaper."