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Second York daily on George Street: like its competitor's before it, Daily Record's newsroom moves back to town.

IN WHAT AT first seems like a step back, the York (Pa.) Daily Record took a step forward earlier this year when it moved its editorial offices back to the town's historic district from an industrial park four miles away.

The move "exceeded my expectations," Record editor and publisher Dennis R. Hetzel remarked last month in his sunlit office. "We have an office with windows."

To appreciate his comment, one just has to look at the paper's former home, an industrial building in Springettsbury Township that is more suited to its current occupant, Penn-Air & Hydraulics.

And the move was a "tolerable business decision," according to Hetzel, who arrived at the paper six years ago. The building at 1750 Industrial Highway was sold to Penn-Air & Hydraulics, and the new offices in town are leased for 10 years.

The first-floor newsroom and offices of the Daily Record are behind a facade comprising what were once the fronts of five 19th century buildings. The doorway to the one at 122 S. George Street leads to a three-story atrium; from there, another door gives entry to a modern, one-story office space.

Hetzel said some of the buildings that make up the facade had enough historical significance to make the Historic Architecture Review Board unlikely to approve demolition.

Retaining the facades added to the cost of the three-story office building, in which the Record is a prime tenant, Hetzel said, noting that the facades seemed to be in a very precarious state during construction last winter.

He said the move was made possible by Robert Pullo, CEO of York Financial, owner of the property. He was the one who pulled it all together, getting municipal approvals and state money for the preservation of the facade.

The most obvious advantage for the staff, Hetzel said, is that it is now "closer to the news makers." There are more options for lunch, he added, although not as many for those who work the night shifts.

Michael Newsome, the newspaper's controller, said, "We have the most secure and convenient parking in all of downtown York." This is in a fenced area just behind the building.

Newsome said the move was a challenge for the staff, because it meant moving existing equipment into the new site in nine hours without missing an edition of the newspaper.

The goal, he said, was to duplicate the existing operations and make them better. Contractors put in 20,000 feet of cable to accommodate these operations in the new building.

"We moved eight computer systems in nine hours," said James McClure, the Record's managing editor.

Both Newsome and McClure attributed the success of the move to careful planning and communication between the staff and the various contractors involved.

A flowchart assured on-time completion of tasks, they said, and ideas for improvements were gleaned from visits to other facilities and talking to the staff.

The York Daily Record is a minority partner in a joint operating agreement with the York Dispatch and York Sunday News, operating as the York Newspaper Co.

Several years ago, the Dispatch and Sunday News, operated by William Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group, moved to 205 N. George Street--just four blocks from the Dispatch's old new home -- and into the same building the Sunday News had occupied under its previous owner. (After the JOA was formed, the Sunday News moved to the downtown Dispatch building at 15 E. Philadelphia Street.)

The JOA prints all three papers at its own headquarters in West Manchester Township.

The Record, which traces its origins to a German-language weekly founded in 1796, left the city in 1978 when a new owner, Jimmy D. Scoggins, built a new plant at 1750 Industrial Highway. The site of the Records old building, 31 E. King Street, is now a parking lot.

The newspaper moved again in 1989 to another new plant at 1891 Loucks Road, the West Manchester Township facility where the JOA now prints all three papers, only to vacate the new facility and return to 1750 Industrial Highway after the JOA was approved.

The Record was bought by the Buckner News Alliance, its current owner, in 1978.

Hetzel said much of his work as publisher -- with a JOA handling many of the business chores associated with the publisher's job -- is in "community activities and relations with our partners [in the JOA]."

"Our owners are in Seattle," said Hetzel. "That's a long way to go."

Salgado, a retired reporter, editor and photographer, is a freelance writer-photographer living in New Hope, Pa.
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Title Annotation:Newspaper Plant & Design; York Daily Record
Author:Salgado, Robert J.
Publication:Editor & Publisher
Date:Nov 2, 1996
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