The Gannett dailies are 90 miles apart, their cities joined by Interstate 49. Hurst is president and publisher of the 35,986-circulation Advertiser and the 7,751-circulation Daily World in Opelousas, about three-quarters of the way from Alexandria to Lafayette, where it is printed.
According to Town Talk President and Publisher Ed Humphrey, his paper's sales and news staffs will remain in Alexandria, and the fate of the downtown printing plant remains uncertain. Hurst said the consolidation "allows us to make the best use of our existing resources and technology.
Gannett already has created a consolidated editorial system for its Louisiana newspapers using Mediaspan software.
Lafayette prints on a manroland Uniset 70 press; Alexandria operates an older Goss Headliner Offset press.
The change will affect approximately 40 mostly part-time jobs in production of the Town Talk -- part of Gannett's acquisition of Indianapolis-based Central Newspapers (which bought the family-owned Town Talk in 1996) in 2000, when it also bought the Opelousas Daily World from The New York Times Co.
Farther north, Gannett's other two dailies in the state, The News-Star in Monroe and The Times in Shreveport, will not consolidate production. The former recently upgraded its pressroom and the latter has begun its own modernization.
By: E&P Staff Late next month, printing of The Town Talk, weekday circulation 27,639, and its related publications in Alexandria, La., will move south to The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, Gannett South Group Vice President Leslie Hurst has announced.