'Philadelphia Inquirer' To Close Printing Plant, 500 Staffers Laid Off

The Philadelphia Inquirer is selling its printing plant, an economic move that will cost an estimated 500 staffers their jobs, the newspaper reported.

The newspaper will move production to a New Jersey plant, a union shop owned by Gannett, as it gears up to sell the Schuylkill Printing Plant by year’s end.

At present, the Inquirer is in negotiations to unload the 45-acre property, opened in 1992. The buyer and any financial terms were not disclosed.

“While the sale is not yet final, we recognize how deeply unsettling and distressing this is to employees at the printing plant,” Lisa Hughes, The Inquirer’s publisher-CEO, said in an internal memo Friday to employees.

She added many have been with The Philadelphia Inquirer for decades. Almost all of the plant staffers — 500 out of 550 — will be laid off. Two newspapers are published there, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, owned by the same parent company, The Philadelphia Foundation.



Hughes said sale monies will be used, in part, to enlarge severance packages for laid-off employees beyond the requirement of union contracts.

Though the Inquirer will continue to print seven days a week, the current stats — a combined weekday circ of about 91,000 for both pubs — is a far cry from its 1989 heyday, when it claimed more than 1 million Sunday readers. The internet changed newspapers’ fortunes, but digital readership remains sizable. Inquirer.com has about 45,000 paid digital subscribers, while the website’s monthly average for unique users is about 10.5 million.

The Inquirer’s move follows a similar decision by News Corp., which decided to changing printers for print editions of The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and the New York Post. The new printing plant is The New York Times’ College Point plant in Queens. The company’s Bronx Print Plant will be revamped, as part of a fiscal streamlining measure. The unions that represent the Bronx employees are in negotiations with News Corp, the publications’ parent company. Until they are concluded, printing will continue in the current facility.


1 comment about "'Philadelphia Inquirer' To Close Printing Plant, 500 Staffers Laid Off".
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  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, October 13, 2020 at 2:10 p.m.

    Go ahead, those of you who want to blame "the internet" for The Inquirer's demise. #1. They bought the wrong presses when they updated in 1994/1995. "The color rates will be coming down to industry averages." Again, they bought the wrong presses to be able for that to happen. Lost millions and millions of dollars. That is just one example. The presses were off register so many times you could set your clock by it. More millions lost. #2. Horrid management. From turning away legitmate accounts, from accepting ads from companies that accounting said not to run due to non payment, to inept people ordering, etc. for the move from the 440 bldg to the clocktower building, to transferring accounts around every few months that fell through the accounts, to greed of 80% profit margins for some accounts and not others, of the arrogance of how some of the editorial treatment of clients (just for respect, not acquiesing), for allowing some sales people to steal money (one stole toilet paper and that was 20 years ago) to so many more choices they made to take down a successful newspaper. 

    Of course, the "internet" was and is a huge change and they did not prepare and still makes it so complicated for accounts, they lose more millions of dollars. Their hiring practices are abomitable and gave away more money, then and more recently. 

    I knew this was coming more than 6 months ago. And if I knew, then suprised you all didn't. The paper has little life yet. And I am sure other newspapers have the same future with perhaps a similar past. As for The Inquirer, I can speak from experience and sincerely believe the media audience should know because they will not know about it anywhere else and as advertiser advocates, they should know. Some of your readers may not nor know the history.

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