Bangor Publishing Co. closes Presque Isle printing plant, citing rising costs

Bangor Publishing Co. will soon close its printing plant in Presque Isle and consolidate its printing plant in Lewiston, where it has been printing the majority of its papers since 2013, at a factory owned by MaineToday.

The shutdown of the Presque Isle Press, operated by Northeast Publishing, will affect the BDN as well as its weekly newspapers, including the Aroostook Republican and News, the Houlton Pioneer Times, the Piscataquis Observer, the Star-Herald and the St. John Valley. Times, according to BDN president Todd Benoit.

Only the printing service moves to Lewiston. The Aroostook Republican, Star Herald, and Print Works commercial printing services will continue to operate from Northeast Publishing facilities in Presque Isle.

Print Works, a commercial printing company operated by BDN from the facilities of Northeast Publishing, will continue to provide printing services to all of its customers.

Seven full-time positions at the Northeast Publishing printing plant will be cut when the transfer takes effect in early October, Benoit said.

Rising newsprint prices and readers’ preference for online news consumption are the main reasons for the shift, he said. The circulation of newspapers at BDN and its weekly publications has declined over the past four years, while the cost of newsprint per tonne has fallen from $ 550 in early 2015 to $ 740 per tonne in early summer.

“The people at Northeast Publishing have done a fantastic job extending the life of the press through their efforts,” said Benoit. “But as readers increasingly turn to their phones for information, we need to find new ways to become more efficient in print. This change allows us to continue to deliver on most rural routes, although trucking from Lewiston becomes more difficult. “

The current Northeast Publishing press in Presque Isle, a Goss Community model, was installed in 1981. It replaced a Goss Suburban, which had been in use since the 1960s. 2000s, the current press printed 300,000 prints per week. By 2018, that weekly number had fallen to 184,000.

“Shifting our media operations south will help us continue to tell the stories of the communities of Aroostook County,” said Northeast Publishing General Manager Andrew Birden.

“It is our calling to record the first draft of the history of the local communities we serve, and this decision will allow us to invest in tactics and implement strategies that will support our business so that we can continue. to honor this vocation, ”he said. .

“Right now,” Birden said, “we’re trying to help the people who are affected by this decision.”

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