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Death Of Print Plants: 1,496 Jobs Lost At UK Presses In Last Four Years

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As news migrates from atoms to bits, so many presses are grinding to a halt.

At least 14 major print plants have closed and 1,496 jobs lost since 2005, reports from the period show.

And that’s by no means exhaustive…


That doesn’t tell the full story: many publishers have actually been steadily investing in reorganising and upgrading the presses, despite rising print costs.

News International shut its Wapping printing plant with 650 lost jobs, but Rupert Murdoch sanctioned an investment of more than £600 million in three new state-of-the-art, mostly automated plants in Broxbourne, Knowsley and Glasgow. DMGT, too, spent millions on its new plant in Oxfordshire.

But, for the regional titles, it’s the end of a publishing era. Big papers have traditionally been printed on their own presses in rooms near to their editorial creators, but publishers are now admitting this model is uneconomic and many papers are moving printing to rivals’ presses or to their own larger, but centralised presses many miles away. That means cuts to daily editions; evening editions turned in to morning papers to fit the new economy.

At least these changing times entertain one group of readers – moving Liverpool Echo and Daily Post printing to Oldham has reportedly allowed Manchester United fans to taunt Liverpool fans with a chant of “we print your papers“.

The closures…
— October 2009: Johnston Press, 106, Edinburgh (via HTPF)
— September 2009: Johnston Press, 46, Kilkenny (via Print Week)
— June 2009: Newsquest, 53 Brighton .
— February 2009: Northcliffe, 66, Leicester (via PG)
— December 2008: Newsquest, 80, Bolton (via
— November 2008: Northcliffe, 58, Grimsby (via Print Week)
— September 2008: Johnston Press, 67, Northampton (via Print Week
— September 2008: Trinity Mirror (LSE: TNI), 100, Liverpool (via
— September 2008: Newquest, 80, Colchester (via Print Week)
— January 2008: Newsquest, 21, Newport (Via
— January 2008: Newsquest, 22, York (via NUJ)
— June 2007: Johnston Press, 40, Falkirk (via Print Week)
— February 2007: News International, 650, Wapping (via Print Week)
— August 2006: Northcliffe, 47, Hull (via Print Week)
— September 2005: Northcliffe, 60, Swansea (via HTFP)

One Response to “Death Of Print Plants: 1,496 Jobs Lost At UK Presses In Last Four Years”

  1. Tom McGowran

    Back in 2004 there were around 100 newspaper printing plants – at the last count there are around 48. However, taking speed of new presses and the number of folders available the capacity is not much different from that in 2004. It is just that we don't have enough Wednesday nights!