MediaNews Group's Marin Independent Journal announced it will close its Novato, Calif., pressroom on Oct. 18, when it moves printing to the Bay Area Newspaper Group's plant in Concord.

The change follows Gannett's decision, announced in spring, not to renew its contract to print some 80,000 copies of USA Today at the Novato plant, where the newspaper reported the closure will cost approximately 30 jobs.

Southwest Offset Printing is building a new plant in San Jose that will print USA Today and The Salinas Californian. SOP began printing Gannett's Californian this week at its Redwood City plant. Gannett also owned the Independent Journal until 2000.

Independent Journal Publisher Matthew F. Wilson said printing in Concord would save hundreds of thousands of dollars, and offer capacity for 40 full-color pages. The newsroom, business offices and distribution will remain in Novato.

The IJ quotes USA Today Production Vice President Ken Kirkhart saying, "The folks in Marin did a terrific job for us for a lot of years, and we were very pleased with the work they did. This was not a decision based on people; it was a financial decision, saving us substantial dollars."

The Marinscope newspaper chain and the Sonoma Sun also are printed in Novato, where Wilson said they had made no decision on whether to join the IJ on the BANG presses in Concord. "Our intent is to honor our commitment," he told the IJ. "We've arranged to have Bay Area News Group presses available to them on the same terms and conditions."