Austin American-Statesman moving printing operations, cutting 100 jobs

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin American-Statesman announced Thursday morning that it will move its printing and packaging operations from Austin to facilities in San Antonio and Houston. The move is expected to happen over the next several months, starting at the end of June.

The newspaper said in a statement that it will cut about 100 jobs because of the transition and that those employees will receive a severance package, benefits continuation and help finding a new job.

“This strategic business decision allows us to reduce expenses and be more efficient and flexible going forward,” said Austin American-Statesman Publisher Susie Ellwood in a statement. “And it helps us continue to do what we do best: being the most essential news, information and advertising source for Austin and Central Texas

Ellwood talked to KXAN News and said there are rumors that they are selling the company, or the land to the University of Texas, but they are not true.

“There are no plans to sell the business, no plans to sell the building, it really is a matter of being more efficient and looking at the long term future,” said Ellwood.

She said many workers who will be let go have been with the company for decades.

“I am still in a little bit of shock since we found out this morning,” said Rick Hill, who has operated the printing press for 23 years. He said workers were pulled into a meting Thursday morning and knew it wasn’t going to be good. “Shaking a lot of hands and getting a lot of hugs today, we’re still trying to process it all and trying to go with our next step.”

Hill said the company had paid for him to go to school over the years which will help him find another job. He plans on focusing more time on his business, Iceteq, a heating and cooling company.

“They’ve been great years, really have, I’m going to miss them,” said HIll.

The company said it will continue seven-day printing and its digital publications. The change will not impact home deliveries, single-copy distribution and delivery times.

Ellwood said it will continue to do some of the commercial work they already have in place until those contracts expire.

Publications like The Daily Texan, a student run newspaper at the University of Texas, said it will be impacted. It contracts with the Statesman and the student paper’s editor-in-chief said having operations in San Antonio will mean earlier deadlines, which could “affect our ability to include information from Student Government meetings, which sometimes run until 10 or after, and sports games.”

The newspaper is owned by Cox Media Group and entered an agreement with Hearst Newspapers for the transition.

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