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Tallahassee Democrat moving printing production facility to Panama City

(WCTV)
Published: May. 19, 2019 at 11:00 PM EDT
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By: Monica Casey | WCTV Eyewitness News

May 19, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- One last run for the printing production of the Tallahassee Democrat took place on the night of Sunday, May 19.

The newspaper is closing its printing facilities in Tallahassee, consolidating the production at the Panama City News-Herald.

This move will not change delivery times of the Tallahassee Democrat for readers, but will affect about 46 employees, whose mission has been delivering the news to citizens in the area.

As the 1967 Goss press began its final run Sunday night, the crowd of former and current employees clapped while looking on. Danny Farr, a former employee with 52 cumulative years of newspaper experience, described his pride for the paper.

"We never missed a paper. The only time we did have one late was because of the hurricane, and naturally we couldn't have our carriers out delivering the newspaper," said Farr. "This is an A-1 class newspaper."

Other longtime employees said the paper has become a second home. Lorene Rogers, an inserter, had her first day on October 2, 1985.

"This is what I looked forward to, getting up every day and coming here," said Rogers.

Jorge Arroyo was the printing supervisor, starting work in January of 1995.

"I feel joy in myself, being part of a great newspaper," said Arroyo.

He will go on to start a cleaning business with his wife. Rogers isn't sure what's next.

"I'm going to miss it. I'm really gonna miss it. And you know, I'm sorry it ended this way, but, things get better, things get better," said Rogers.

Mary Ann Lindley, a current Leon County commissioner, left the paper in 2011 after working there for over 30 years.

"My only regret, I never got to yell, 'stop the presses!'" said Lindley.

She said the 46 Democrat employees who are hunting for jobs are the "A team."

"Anyone would be lucky to hire them," said Lindley.

She remains proud of her former workplace.

"There's just such passion, there's such interest in perfection," said Lindley. "There's such a mission of the First Amendment."

Although Danny Farr retired 7 years ago, he goes back and visits frequently, eating lunch with his old coworkers. His work desk is still untouched, with family pictures lining the walls of the room.

"Everybody was just warm, everybody in this building," said Farr. "Just beautiful people."

The Tallahassee Democrat will still be delivered by the same carriers, with articles written by the same reporters. The only difference is where it will be printed.

The last issue printed in Tallahassee will be delivered on Monday, May 20.