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At least two U.S. newspaper companies are moving forward rapidly in the consolidation of editorial production functions, with Tribune Co. saying last week that it would bring much of the copy editing and page layout for its Daily Press of Newport News, Va., into the newsroom of its flagship Chicago Tribune. In February, The E.W. Scripps Co. acknowledged that it was expanding its centralized copy desk for its Texas papers to include three other dailies, which are in California and Washington.

The Daily Press said the change, which will entail cutting most of its copy editing and page layout jobs, or about 15 percent of its staff, could save the paper $1 million a year. The program is scheduled to

"We're going to have to learn how to really focus our resources on that which really differentiates us," Digby Solomon, president and publisher of the Daily Press told a Tribune reporter. "For us, that's the local stuff. This allows us to save some money on personnel ... without impacting the reporters, columnists, photographers who are out generating uniquely local content."

Tribune spokesman Gary Weitman told The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., that the arrangement between the two sibling papers was a "pilot project."

The Tribune reported that it has been sending its company's smaller papers -- which probably include not only the Daily Press but also the Morning Call of Allentown, Pa. -- "edited, formatted and headlined non-local stories ... which could then drop them onto their pages."

A similar move will be happening in May at Scripps' Ventura County Star in Southern California, its Record Searchlight in Northern California's Redding and its Kitsap Sun in Port Orchard, Wash. The centralized production will be done at Scripps' Texas paper, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

Scripps centralized news production in Corpus Christi for its other Texas titles, which include the Abilene Reporter-News, San Angelo Standard-Times and Wichita Falls' Times Record News, in April 2009.

While many publishers have centralized some news production, its usually been done regionally rather than what Tribune and Scripps are now trying, which is across state lines. Tribune's project in Newport News keeps local copy editing in Virginia, but Scripps' project moves all editing to Texas, where they may not know much Chinook, the Native American language that permeates the names and places of Kitsap Peninsula.

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Date:Mar 15, 2010

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