The Lincoln Journal Star will add up to 30 jobs during the next two years after being named one of three regional design centers for Lee Enterprises, the Journal Star’s parent company.
Design center staffers work with newsrooms at Lee newspapers across the country each day to produce customized news, sports and features pages. Newspapers and niche publications will be added to the process gradually, and staffing will go up with each set of new printed products.
Lee already has a design center in Munster, Ind., at the Times of Northwest Indiana. Another design center will be established at the State Journal in Madison, Wis.
The Lincoln design center now has about 10 designers. It is in the Journal Star newsroom, but it operates as a separate business. Some Lincoln newsroom jobs changed with the creation of the design center and some processes have changed, Journal Star Editor Dave Bundy said, but there was no effect on the content of the paper in print or online.
“We’re excited to bring additional jobs to the Journal Star,” Publisher Julie Bechtel said. “Selection of Lincoln by Lee Enterprises says a lot about our staff here and a lot about the community as a place to live and work.”
As design work shifts from other papers to Lincoln, “We’ll draw on local staffers interested in relocating to Lincoln as well as finding qualified journalists and designers here in the area,” Bechtel said.
Design center staffers in the Lincoln newsroom already are producing the Lincoln Journal Star, Beatrice Daily Sun, Fremont Tribune, Plattsmouth Journal and Neighborhood Extra. Soon, Lee newspapers from other states will move their design work to Lincoln.
Each Lee paper makes local news and advertising decisions for every edition of its publications. Those are communicated to design center staffers, who place stories, arrange photos and position headlines on pages. The pages are sent back to each local office for final proofreading before they are typeset. Software allows local editors to see their pages in real time as they are being built in Lincoln.
“Local newspapers will still make all the crucial decisions,” said Bundy, who oversees all news operations at the Journal Star. “But our emphasis on design allows us to gather a group of talented journalists and let them focus on what they do best.”
Several other larger newspaper companies are adopting the design center model. “On the business side, there are efficiencies involved in designing multiple newspapers in one location,” Bundy said. “But this system also allows us to let our best designers serve as many communities as possible.”