Industry change incentive to move

The Republic plans to find a new home in Columbus as it continues to grow into a more diverse media company.

Rayanna Corp., a local company established by the Brown-Marshall family of Columbus, owns the building at 333 Second St. that has housed the daily newspaper since 1971 and intends to sell it.

The newspaper is looking for an existing building in the city of Columbus to be its new home and anticipates moving by the end of the year.

A new location signals a commitment “to stay ahead of changes in the media industry and offer readers news on many platforms — online, through social media and through print — and make sure we deliver complete marketing solutions so businesses can reach audiences on all those platforms,” said Jeremy Halbreich, chairman and CEO of AIM Media Indiana, the owner of The Republic.

When AIM Media purchased The Republic four months ago, it opted not to purchase the building in downtown Columbus. Instead, AIM Media is looking to the future and for a flexible workspace more suited to the technologies and systems needed for a new generation of media companies, Halbreich said.

When Chicago architect Myron Goldsmith of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed the one-story structure in the early 1970s, it was based on the production of a newspaper nearly 45 years ago.

The printing press was the centerpiece of the glass structure. Materials generated by the editorial and advertising departments followed direct paths through the editing, copy setting, page creation and plate-making area to the press and from there to the circulation department, according to a history of the building. Newsprint even was stored in the building.

The press was removed from the building in 1998, and the newspaper company started reshaping itself by developing magazines and specialty publications and creating a robust online and digital presence.

Now, driven by technology, news and information gathered by newspapers are produced and delivered in new ways and in new forms.

How readers get their news has changed dramatically and those changes have transformed the operation and structure of The Republic and most news organizations, said Chuck Wells, vice president and publisher of The Republic.

More readers are getting news digitally, on their smartphones and tablets. For example, in the past month, nearly 60 percent of The Republic’s digital audience used mobile devices to access the news.

With technology, newspaper reporters and other staff members do not need to be tied to a large physical building to report and get the news to readers. Stories, videos and photos can be uploaded to the Web and social media sites with a smartphone, and pages are designed electronically as well.

And news planning is no longer solely based on when the paper is delivered to readers. Instead, newsrooms are innovating and getting stories to readers in new ways and at all times of the day.

Advertising and marketing operations have been restructured, too, Wells said.

At The Republic, the goal is to connect advertisers with their desired audiences regardless of platform, Wells said.

With technology, “we have more tools at our disposal to make that happen,” he said. “We are expanding our digital offerings and investing in technology.”

“At the same time, we remain committed to print. Print is our franchise and is incredibly important to us and will always be. We are strong and highly effective on all platforms,” Wells said.

Many newspaper companies across the nation have realized the need for new physical spaces as they implement new structures and work processes to be responsive to readers and the digital environment.

The Daily Journal, an AIM Media newspaper covering Johnson County, moved to a more modern and efficient space two years ago. The Washington Post, The Des Moines Register, Minneapolis Star Tribune and other papers also have new, more efficient facilities.