No Layoffs From Gatehouse Design Hub

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013 12:00 am  

Mitch Bettis

Publicly traded Gatehouse Media of Fairport, N.Y., which owns multiple daily and weekly newspapers in Arkansas, is building a facility in Austin, Texas, to which some of its editorial design jobs will be outsourced. The company has stated the center could employ up to 200, but it is not currently expected to affect any jobs in Arkansas.

“There is a design hub being built in Austin that is set to be finished in 2014,” Regional Publisher John Tucker told Outtakes. “However, we have our own hub here in Arkansas that employs approximately four people. I’m not expecting any changes to Arkansas at this time.”

Mitch Bettis, current publisher of Arkansas Business, helped start the Arkansas editorial design hub in Arkadelphia last year when he was regional publisher at Gatehouse.

He said the creation of that facility didn’t so much eliminate jobs as shuffle them around, and it also eased the challenge of finding design talent in smaller communities.

“It really was just a reorganization of how we moved and created pages and how we moved content from our local offices through a designer and onto a press facility,” Bettis said. “It was ultimately about being able to concentrate design talent in a particular region.”

He also noted that Gatehouse had been planning a large design hub for many years.

Tom Larimer, executive director of the Arkansas Press Association, said the trend of outsourcing design of local papers has been continuing for several years, and is usually implemented as a cost-cutting measure.

“Outsourcing has been becoming a growth industry in the newspaper industry as more and more newspapers look for ways to cut expenses,” he said. “It’s not uncommon.”

He added that papers in Arkansas employing their own design teams still outnumber those outsourcing design, however.



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