Gannett’s Times Herald-Record newspaper based in Middletown, which serves Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties, plans to close its printing and production facility in nearby Wallkill and shift the production and printing operation to a plant in Rockaway, New Jersey, where another Gannett newspaper, The Daily Record, is produced.
The Times Herald-Record’s news and advertising departments will remain in Middletown, according to the newspaper.
The ownership entity Local Media Group Inc., dba Times Herald-Record, filed a notice with the New York State Department of Labor on Feb. 6 saying that 94 employees would lose their jobs during the 14-day period beginning on May 10. The employees are not represented by a union, according to the notice. The reason it gave the Labor Department for the notice was “plant closing.”
In a news story appearing in both its print and digital editions, the newspaper told readers that the move of production and printing to New Jersey will not affect publication of the Times Herald-Record and home deliveries will continue to be made at the usual times.
The newspaper said that the last edition to be produced at the Wallkill plant would be the May 11 edition, going to press on May 10. It explained that once production shifts to New Jersey, the newspaper would have to meet earlier production deadlines in order to make sure it can meet its delivery deadlines. It acknowledged that this might make it more difficult to get some stories, which break late in the day, into print in as timely a manner as in the past. It said readers would be able to obtain late news from the newspaper’s website.
“To maintain our high standards of trusted, local journalism, the Times Herald-Record must adapt to market-driven changes and competition,” the newspaper’s Regional Vice President Terry Cascioli said. “We remain deeply committed to our traditional print and rapidly growing digital audiences.”
Cascioli said that the company regrets the impact the move will have on its employees. “The individuals who bring our newspaper to life every day are incredibly skilled and dedicated, and this move was in no way a reflection on their work,” he said.
The newspaper’s 2020 media kit did not provide circulation figures for the print edition but did state that the digital traffic for its online edition, recordonline.com, averages 5.91 million monthly page views and 751,330 unique visitors.
Local Media Group Inc., can be traced back to media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s Dow Jones Local Media Group. In 2013, Newcastle Investment Corp. acquired Dow Jones Local Media Group for $87 million. At the time, the Dow Jones group operated 33 publications including eight daily and 15 weekly newspapers. Newcastle was managed by Fortress Investment Group and was subsequently merged into New Media Investment Group. In November 2019, New Media Investment Group and Gannett finalized a merger.