Business North has broken the story that American Consolidated Media, owner of many small daily and weekly newspapers in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, will close its Hibbing printing and production plant. The Mesabi Daily News, Hibbing Daily Tribune, Grand Rapids Herald-Review and others will now be printed at the Duluth News Tribune‘s new printing facility in Duluth’s Air Park, according to the Ron Brochu story.
The story indicates that printing plant employees will have the opportunity “to seek” positions with Forum Communication, parent company of the DNT.
There are many interesting angles to this story. One, the DNT and these northern papers have long competed against one another. How will this affect that competition? Two, this new arrangement will further affect turnaround time for the AMC papers. Early deadlines just moved earlier still. Three, the printing plant almost seemed cursed from the outset. It’s position on the north side of Hibbing subjected it to the force of the mine blasts at Hibbing Taconite, which sometimes threw off the press calibration. These papers are very important to the communities they serve, but the woes of the national newspaper industry weigh heavy here.
Finally, the AMC plant in Hibbing was remodeled from an existing building that many following Range politics and economic development would know: It’s the chopsticks factory. Or it was.
UPDATE: The company issues a statement through a story run in all its papers this morning.