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San Antonio Express-News relocates into Light building, will now print in Houston

by San Antonio CurrentNov 15, 2020
The San Antonio Express-News building on Avenue E and Third Street in 2019.
The San Antonio Express-News building at Avenue E and Third Street in 2019. Jullien Uriegas | Heron

By Sanford Nowlin | San Antonio Current

In its latest cost-cutting move, the San Antonio Express-News is vacating the building it's occupied since 1929 and relocating all printing to the Houston Chronicle, also owned by corporate parent Hearst Corp.

In a MySA article explaining the move, the daily said it's also eliminated 62 positions through voluntary buyouts, including 11 in the newsroom and 36 in its print shop. However, the paper will hire 10 newsroom staffers as part of its move, meaning it will largely offset the loss in editorial staff.

The relocation is only taking the Express-News a block away. The paper is leasing two floors of the Light building, once owned by Hearst, for a total of 22,000 square feet of space. The move will be complete by mid-March.

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“Throughout this pandemic, all of our employees have gone above and beyond the call of duty,” Express-News Publisher Mark Medici told MySA. “The voluntary separation program is an acknowledgment of these challenging times and provided an option for some employees to pursue other interests, retire early, spend more time with family or simply recharge and reset."

The voluntary buyouts follow a May 2018 layoff that trimmed 14 seasoned journalists from the paper's ranks. The paper's deepest personnel cut came in 2009, when it laid off 75 editorial employees, or a third of its newsroom.

Hearst put the Express-News' eight-story building and adjoining printing plant on the market in May of last year. It still hasn't located a buyer for the property. Medici didn't reveal terms of the rental deal for the Light building but said the move will slash operating expenses by 50%.

The Express-News and other daily newspapers have been in a continuous cost-cutting mode since the early 2000s as readers and ad dollars continue to defect online.

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This article is republished with permission from the San Antonio Current.

The San Antonio Current, San Antonio's award-winning alternative media company, has served as the city's premiere multimedia source of alternative news, events and culture since 1986.

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