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Virginian-Pilot to move printing operations, cut 130 jobs

May 27, 2020 GMT

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — About 130 employees will lose their jobs at a Virginia newspaper when its printing operations move to a facility used by another regional publication, according to its owner.

The Virginian-Pilot is set to be printed in the Richmond Times Dispatch’s facility in the state’s capital starting in July, The Pilot reported, citing an announcement from Tribune Publishing executive Par Ridder.

In an email sent to employees Tuesday, Ridder said 48 full-time and 84 part-time positions involved in printing and packaging the newspaper would be eliminated.

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“Going forward, we do not expect ad revenue to return to the same levels from before the pandemic so we must continue operating with reduced overall costs,” he wrote.

Tribune also owns nearby publications The Daily Press, Virginia Gazette and Tidewater Review, which had all been printed in Richmond since before The Pilot was purchased in 2018, according to WAVY-TV. Tribune Publishing originally intended to print all of the publications at a Virginia Beach printing plant, but decided to move its operations after receiving an offer in Richmond, Ridder said.

The union representing the newspapers called the decision “shortsighted” in a statement Tuesday and said it would hurt the publication’s ability to cover the news.

At the beginning of the month, The Virginian-Pilot officially moved out of the downtown Norfolk building that it had occupied for more than 80 years and Tribune Publishing sold the building to a developer who planned to turn it into apartments.