After 165 years, Rockford's paper to be printed out of town

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — After Monday, residents in the northern Illinois community of Rockford will for the first time since before the Civil War will be reading their local paper that's printed outside the city.

The Rockford Register Star reported that Gannett, which owns the paper, is moving printing production operations to Milwaukee. The paper or one if its forebears has been printed in Rockford for 165 years. The paper will join The Journal-Standard of Freeport to be printed at the same facility as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other Wisconsin newspapers.

Rockford will still have its daily newspaper and the journalists who work for the print edition and for rrstar.com aren't going anywhere. But the move will result in the layoffs of 23 full-time production employees and several others by the middle of this month.

Assistant Production manager Chuck Downing said the move is a cost-saving measure that mirrors the consolidation of printing operations throughout the newspaper industry.

“It's a sad time,” Downing, who said maintaining a press and employing a workforce is expensive. “What’s happening to Rockford is happening in many printing facilities across the United States. Not just within Gannett, but within other news organizations where they are combining print facilities.”