Monday, March 7, 2011

Wall Street Journal closing Palo Alto plant

Dow Jones & Co., the company that produces The Wall Street Journal, will close its Palo Alto plant, which has printed the newspaper for Northern California for 45 years, the Daily Post in Palo Alto reported Saturday.

A spokesman for Dow Jones, Howard Hoffman, declined to comment to the Post on the number of jobs that would be leaving Palo Alto when the plant shuts down.

The Journal has contracted with the Bay Area News Group to print the Journal's Northern California edition at BANG's Contra Costa Times pressroom in Walnut Creek. The move will occur in about two weeks.

The plant at 1701 Page Mill Road in the Stanford Research Park was built in 1966 and is believed to be the last manufacturing facility in the research park. At one time, several companies in the park were involved in manufacturing, including the Journal's neighbor, Hewlett Packard. Over the years, the park has shifted toward R&D.

Dow Jones' lease with Stanford for the 8.5-acre site expires in 2015, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

The Post calls to Stanford Management Co. weren't returned Friday.

Every night, Dow Jones uses 17 printing plants across the country, including the one in Palo Alto, to print the Journal. The plant churns out about 100,000 newspapers, which are delivered in the middle of the night to subscribers and newsracks. Some of the papers are trucked to San Francisco International Airport, where they are flown to Hawaii and other locations in the Pacific.

When the plant opened in 1966, the technology of transmitting finished pages from the Journal's Manhattan office to remote printing plants via phone lines and microwave relays was considered revolutionary. In the early 1970s, transmission switched to satellites, again considered cutting edge.

A decade later, USA Today would build a similar network of printing plants across the country, copying the Journal's transmission concept.

At one time, the Journal had a news bureau and television studio located in the Page Mill Road building, but has since moved those jobs to San Francisco.

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