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Herald to partner with Gannett on printing newspaper

ALBANY, Ga. — The Albany Herald has entered into a new printing agreement with Gannett Co. that will result in a reduction in the newspaper's press and mailroom departments.

John Hetzler, publisher of The Herald, said the loss of jobs was regrettable, but the economic climate forced the newspaper to take a hard look at its business and make a major adjustment to allow it to continue to compete in the marketplace.

"We can see no other way to do this other than to fundamentally change our business model," Hetzler said. "In the future, we will have to rely more heavily on revenue from Internet advertising in addition to our traditional print."

The agreement will result in The Herald being printed at the Tallahassee Democrat, which Herald officials expect to improve the reproduction quality of the newspaper. The expected start date is Oct. 25.

"As with most every business in America today, The Herald is committed to adapting to societal and economic changes," Scott H. Brooks, The Herald's director of sales and marketing, said. "That's what's happening now. Improving the quality of our products, the efficiencies of our business model and meeting the needs of our advertisers are driving these important changes.

"As a result, we will be out soon with a variety of newer, better products for both readers and advertisers."

The Herald's offset press was installed in 1977 and the adverse economic climate has made investments and upgrades to that press unfeasible. The only realistic way to improve the quality of the print product was to move to another facility, Hetzler said.

"Aging equipment, both in the press and inserting department, and the high costs of replacing this equipment was unrealistic for a small business like ours, plus there are the high costs of repair to maintain the aging equipment," Director of Operations Lynn Ridder said.

Ridder said the move will result in an "improved quality of reproduction" and enable The Herald "to use a better quality of paper at a lower price than a small paper can purchase, along with all the other materials and supplies required for printing a newspaper."

The change will reduce the newspaper's payroll, facilities and maintenance costs to help it remain competitive financially.

"The Albany Herald has continuously published a daily paper for more than 120 years and has shown growth in every aspect of our business over those years," Hetzler said. "To do that we've had to be successful financially and this new approach will ensure we remain viable.

"We believe our newspaper, like every institution and business, must adapt to change and reinvent itself. There are many more options for advertisers to get their messages delivered, and newspapers, TV and radio have seen their revenues suffer from the number of media options available to consumers. The competition for every ad dollar is intense."

While Internet-based competitors, many of which rely heavily on traditional media for information that they repackage and transmit, have minimal expense in both people and delivery of their service, The Herald maintains a top-quality, independent news staff and physically delivers its news and advertising to its readers' doors. The newspaper has also worked diligently to compete in the Internet realm, with its news room - which is not part of the force reduction - routinely breaking stories and posting them in real time as they develop, Hetzler noted.

"The off-site production may give us some deadline challenges, but we will continue to provide the most comprehensive local news report possible and augment that with breaking news on the website," Editor Jim Hendricks said. "We'll make optimum use of both platforms (print and web) to complement each other for our readers."

"Businesses tell us they get very good results from advertising with The Herald," Hetzler said, "but they have far more options, including www.albanyherald.com. With the ad market as fractured as it is and by maintaining our newspaper delivery and news reporting, we've had to tighten our belts, just like every business and every person has had to over the past several years. A newspaper has to be viable for it to be successful and we believe this move will help us maintain that viability in a changing media landscape."

Comments

waltspecht 1 year, 6 months ago

The economic climate being what it is, this type of thing wasn't unexpected. However, a business has to do what is necessary for it to survive. I've been a subscriber since 1979, and will continue to support the paper. I just hope the community does also. One of the best ways to get Johnny to read, is a well written newspaper. If we ever lose it all, I shall miss it. Sorry for those losing their jobs.

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alleebrin 1 year, 6 months ago

Sure hope the quality of ink improves. Had to stop and wash my hands every time I read the actual paper; thus, preferred to read online!

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chinaberry25 1 year, 6 months ago

I have always taken the paper, but the folks delivering the paper, put a stop to it. Come weekend, never got one, so I just cancelled it. Have not missed anything, but the Squwak Box, but not enough to pay 75 cents. I can get obits from the funeral home web site.

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VSU 1 year, 6 months ago

Herald to be printed out of Tallahassee, I wonder if that means waiting an extra day to get the news. Sometimes the news you read in the herald is already 2 days old as it is. If it wasn't for the squawkbox and the comics I would cancel my newspaper subscription.

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Terry.Lewis 1 year, 6 months ago

Well, I guess you have not paid much attention to what the local news staff is producing.

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VSU 1 year, 6 months ago

I have paid plenty of attention, such as mispelled words, misplaced words. Standings in the sports section being inaccurate, repeat squawks in the squawkbox, i could go on and on.

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Terry.Lewis 1 year, 6 months ago

Just curious, then why are you here?

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ObjectiveEyes 1 year, 6 months ago

VSU: NEVER pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel! :)

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VSU 1 year, 6 months ago

I am not fighting, they asked me why I was here, and I am thinking, why not? :)

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billstrickland 1 year, 6 months ago

This is off-topic, but I admit it always amuses me to see someone complain in writing about misspelled words when they misspell "misspelled."

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finkeldorfer 1 year, 6 months ago

Enjoy it while it lasts. Here in Alabama, our paper just cut back to three days a week with the slack supposedly being delivered online. We are watching the final days of an industry.

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J.D._Sumner 1 year, 6 months ago

They said the same thing when the telegraph was invented, and newspapers survived that. They said our industry was dead when radio popped on the scene, we survived that. They said it was our dying day when television was beamed into households across the U.S., and yet we're still here.

Like any business, if you wish to survive, you adapt. The mere fact that you guys are commenting on our website, means it's working, and we appreciate you guys coming here each day and weighing in on the issues.

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billybob 1 year, 6 months ago

Yes and the postal service survived the telephone, fedex, etc. But they are not surviving the internet and email. The traditional newspaper is dying. Journalism will survive, but the newspaper method of delivering news and other content will not. Don't feel bad, traditional radio will be next. Smart phones are now able to deliver customized audio information and entertainment to newer cars. That's the first real nail in the terrestrial radio coffin.

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J.D._Sumner 1 year, 6 months ago

The postal service isn't surviving because they failed to adapt. Look at FedEx and UPS, both of whom have a comfy piece of the parcel market. You're right though, studies have shown that today, most news is disseminated by means other than television and traditional print media. That means that we have to step up our game on the web, through apps, and mobile media to make sure we still bring quality journalism to our readers. If you want 30 second soundbites you can have them all day when you flip on your television, what we have to do is to provide the meat of the story, and provide it first. Thanks for the input!

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VietVet1 1 year, 6 months ago

Best wishes to the Herald in surviving the economy slump. Really sad on those that will be losing their job. Just hope they're able to find work soon. Maybe give them the opportunity to leave Albany to greener pastures.

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dingleberry 1 year, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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