- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 1, 2009

LANCASTER, PA. (AP) - Two central Pennsylvania newspapers that share both a corporate owner and a newsroom plan to consolidate operations and publish a combined edition starting in June, a move expected to lead to dozens of layoffs.

The Intelligencer Journal and the Lancaster New Era, an afternoon paper, will begin publishing a single morning edition Monday through Saturday starting June 29, according to Lancaster Newspapers Inc. The company plans to cut about 60 full-time jobs and 40 part-time jobs as the operations are streamlined.

The two Lancaster papers have been publishing a combined edition on Saturdays and holidays since March 2008, under a masthead with the names of both papers.

“The Lancaster Newspapers family is about to lose some very good employees in what is a regrettable, but necessary, business decision to strengthen the company,” John M. Buckwalter, chairman of the board of Lancaster Newspapers, said in a statement. “This is a very difficult decision for all of us, but we believe it is a necessary one in this current newspaper publishing environment.”

In the statement, Buckwalter cited the papers’ unique arrangement.

“We know of no other market in the United States where the same ownership publishes morning and evening newspapers with separate editorial staffs,” he said.

The Intelligencer Journal, a morning paper, has a circulation of about 44,000; the Lancaster New Era’s circulation is about 52,000.

In a longtime and unusual arrangement, the papers have independent staffs but share the same space _ in many cases the same desks. The New Era’s staff fills the building in the morning and the Intelligencer Journal employees arrive in the afternoon, with reporters competing fiercely with one another for stories.

Lancaster Newspapers president Harold E. Miller said the company will be evaluating every department. By late April, Miller said, the company hopes to announce its new organizational structure and identify which employees will be cut. The cuts could be affected by retirements and attrition, the company said.

Charles Raymond Shaw, editor of the Intelligencer Journal, and Ernest J. Schreiber, editor of the New Era, will remain editors of the combined, six-day newspaper. The combined paper will incorporate separate editorial pages.

The company’s Sunday paper, the Lancaster Sunday News, will be unaffected by the change.

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