132 jobs cut by Tribune’s plan to close local Virginian-Pilot printing plant in July

Norfolk

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginian-Pilot will lose 132 employees due to an executive decision to move the newspaper’s printing operations to a facility used by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The Pilot reports that Tribune Publishing’s executive Par Ridder sent an email to staff Tuesday afternoon alerting them to the change.

According to the Pilot, the shift to the Richmond printing plant will happen in July.

The Daily Press, Virginia Gazette and Tidewater Review — which are also owned by Tribune — have been printed in Richmond since before the Pilot was purchased by the company.

The Pilot reports Ridder said Tribune originally planned to move printing operations for all of the papers to the Pilot’s Virginia Beach plant on Greenwich Road.

Tribune elected to change “strategies” after they received an offer to print in Richmond, according to the newspaper.

The Virginian-Pilot was acquired by Tribune in 2018 after being owned by the same family for more than a century. Then, Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund known for whittling down newsrooms in favor of profits, bought a 32-percent stake in Tribune in late 2019,

The company also recently moved out of its building on West Brambleton Avenue in Norfolk, its home since 1937. The building was sold to the Monument Cos. for $9.5 million. The developer said it would turn the four-story, 173,000-square-foot building into 181 apartments.

This spring, Tribune also offered buyouts to its staff, resulting in about 20 journalists leaving the Pilot — and more at the Daily Press.

The union representing the four Virginia papers, Tidewater Media Guild, voiced its displeasure on Twitter over the company’s “shortsighted decision” to no longer print the newspaper in Hampton Roads.

“Make no mistake about it — this move hurts our fellow employees, our communities and our ability to cover news,” the guild wrote.


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