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Thursday, June 21, 2012 01:02 am

A PRESSING ISSUE

One year after it started printing in Peoria, the State Journal-Register is getting rid of its press.

Publisher Walt Lafferty put the staff on notice more than a week ago, imposing parking restrictions near the building’s loading dock, where the press will be taken out one piece at a time.

Where the press will end up isn’t clear. Lafferty did not respond to an email asking about the fate of what was once the newspaper’s heartbeat. The newspaper has announced that it wants to lease all but the first floor of the South Ninth Street building. Presumably, the press, which takes up the better part of the basement, is getting in the way of valuable office space.

Since GateHouse Media bought the paper, Sunday circulation has dropped from 61,178 to 47,668, a decrease of 22 percent, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation. During the past year alone, Sunday circulation fell by more than 4,500 readers. Daily circulation has fallen from 52,562 five years ago to 44,722, a loss of nearly 15 percent.

However, daily circulation increased by nearly 2,400 readers during the past year, so the SJ-R must be doing something right. Several journalists who helped make it happen were honored last week by the Illinois Press Association, which gave the paper and its newsroom employees no fewer than five second and third place awards and an equal number of honorable mentions in the association’s annual Excellence In News competition.
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