Devils Lake Daily Journal to begin printing from Bismarck

Devils Lake Daily Journal

Newsroom ends local printing operations after more than 100 years.

DEVILS LAKE - After more than 10 decades of printing through rain, sleet, high winds and snow, the time for retirement has come.  Devils Lake Daily Journal is announcing the ceasing of their pressroom operations at the end of the month. 

According to officials with Gannett, which owns the Journal, as well as the USA TODAY Network with more than 260 newsrooms, the pressroom operations will continue to operate as normal, including all its pressroom staff, until September 9, when the paper will then be printed out of facilities in Bismarck, North Dakota. The last issue to be printed out of Devils Lake will be the Friday, September 10 issue.

The DLJ parent company said the closing of the pressroom was in part a result of further consolidation in the newspaper industry, which is seeking more efficient ways to create its product without impacting its customers. 

Pressroom operations will continue to operate as normal, including all its pressroom staff, until September 9, when the paper will then be printed out of facilities in Bismarck, North Dakota. The last issue to be printed out of Devils Lake will be the Friday, September 10 issue, closing out over 100 years of operation for the press.

According to Gannett, a total of seven pressroom staff will be effected by the closure, most of which are part-time employees. Gannett officials have said they will have opportunities to find other opportunities within the company. 

Newspaper delivery is not expected to be impacted, company officials said. Gannett has said advertising and news teams will remain in place in the Devils Lake's current office. 

This archival photo shows the first edition of the Devils Lake Journal being printed on the current press in January of 1966.

Newsroom and advertising leadership with the Devils Lake Daily Journal said that even though the pressroom operations would be shifting, the journal remains deeply committed to serving the Ramsey County area. The same as it has for over 100 years.

"We are committed to still being a part of the community and providing local journalism in real-time, both in print and digitally," Managing Editor William Boyer said. "The office itself is not going anywhere, Ethan Evenson, DLJ's amazing advertising director, and his awesome sales team and my team and I will be staying right here to serve this community.  With this new partnership with Bismarck, which has a larger pressroom with more capabilities than ours, we believe we can provide an enhanced print production for our subscribers." 

Boyer said he knows this was not an easy decision for the company to make and he applauds the pressroom and its leadership in their handling of the transition. 

This archival photo shows the original Duplex flatbed press which ran from the first publication in 1905 until 1966 when it was replaced with Devils Lake Daily Journal's current press.  The duplex press was sold to a publishing company in Minnesota where it printed weekly papers for another number of years.

"I am so grateful and so humbled by the dedication and work that these fine individuals in the pressroom gave to the paper for so many years," Boyer said. "It was a joy and an honor to get to work with them and learn about how a press works, which was one thing I had not gotten to learn about in the news industry." 

The consolidation of production operations across the news industry has been a common way to save money in the news industry and invest funding in journalism and developing businesses opportunities as advertising revenue has seen a decline in recent years. Other papers in North Dakota, including the Grand Forks Herald and Fargo Tribune, owned by Forum Communications, closed printing operations in Fargo earlier this year and shifted printing to services to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Other states have also regionalized the printing of several papers. In Florida, Pensacola News Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, Northwest Florida Daily News and others into a centralized printing press based out of Panama City, FL. In Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Inquirer announced earlier this year its plan to close its printing plant in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and shift production to a New Jersey contractor. In Minnesota, APG Media of Southern Minnesota began printing in Princeton, Minnesota, closing the Cannon Valley Printing location in Northfield.