The Belleville News-Democrat announced Monday that it will move its print and packaging operations to the Kansas City Star, effective Aug. 18, 2018.
The BND’s transportation and distribution operations will remain in Belleville. Both local news media companies are owned by McClatchy.
Moving print and packaging operations will not affect newspaper delivery times for subscribers and readers of the Belleville News-Democrat. Subscribers may also access news and information online via the e-Edition at bnd.com/eedition and at www.bnd.com.
Jeffry Couch, editor and general manager of the BND, announced the decision at a meeting of production employees Monday.
“This was a difficult business decision we reached after much discussion and deliberation about our options and alternatives,” Couch said. “We concluded that printing at the Kansas City Star is the best choice for the future of the BND and provides the company with long-term cost savings as we continue transitioning to digital.
“As reader habits evolve and our audience consumes news and information increasingly on smartphones, outsourcing our print production to our sister company in Kansas City became the most cost effective alternative,” Couch said. “The Belleville News-Democrat will remain a seven-day-a-week printed newspaper, while also continuing its growth as a local digital media company.”
The 24 full-and part-time print production team affected by the move will receive benefits including severance payments, the extension of company-subsidized health benefits and outplacement services provided in partnership with Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Illinois Department of Employment Security and St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Workforce Development. The Rapid Response Program services offered to Belleville News-Democrat colleagues will include one-on-one counseling services, help with resume writing, information on training and apprenticeship programs offered, job placement programs, continuing education options and support filing for unemployment.
“I would like to express our deep gratitude and appreciation to the entire production team whose steadfast work has built a reputation of dependability and excellence for the BND and has served our community loyally,” Couch said.
“Moving our print operation to Kansas City does not change our core mission: to produce independent local journalism that is essential to our community and to our advertisers.”