By Thomas Curwen, LA Times, March 10, 2024

The swing shift is about to start at a plant that is about to close. Late winter sunlight casts long shadows from workers crossing the parking lot, where stray cats skulk among the cars.

Only two weeks left, and the routine is unchanged: clocking in at 5 p.m., heading to the locker room, trading street clothes for work wear. If anyone feels sadness or loss, no one shows it. They have a newspaper to put out.

“We’re trying to do this with a little class and dignity,” said shift supervisor Kal Hamalainen.

Sixteen months ago, they were told that the Los Angeles Times, their employer, would outsource the printing of the paper and that the Olympic printing plant, once a crown jewel in a vast media empire, would shut down sometime in 2024.

The decision was set in motion many years earlier when the Chicago-based Tribune Co., then owner of The Times, sold its historic properties, and The Times became a tenant.

Now, six years after Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong bought The Times in 2018, the lease on the Olympic plant is expiring, and paying rent has become untenable. The paper will be printed in Riverside by the Southern California Newspaper Group, with its circulation numbers remaining the same.

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