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St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's building at 900 North Tucker Boulevard, photographed on May 26, 2015. Photo by Lynden Steele. 

The Lee Design Center in Munster, Ind., will produce news and editorial layout and design for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, beginning on May 2.

Nine newsroom employees in St. Louis will be laid off, including eight union-represented workers, the company said in a brief statement.

The Lee Design Center provides this service for nearly 50 Lee Enterprises-owned daily newspapers and 300 weekly and specialty publications. Munster is in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Other newspaper chains, including Gannett and Gatehouse Media, also have shifted some editing and design work to regional centers.

In a statement, United Media Guild President Jeff Gordon criticized the move.

“Such outsourcing inevitably weakens the newspaper, since editors with little knowledge of the St. Louis region will be editing copy, writing headlines and designing pages of the Post-Dispatch. But our remaining members will do their best to maintain the P-D’s high journalistic standards and keep serving the community.”

The move comes at a time when the Post-Dispatch seeks buyouts by March 4 from 15 employees who are at least 50 years old and have at least 10 years of continuous employment.

Davenport, Iowa-based Lee also recently sold the Post-Dispatch building. The newsroom is expected to move to a smaller building nearby owned by the same landlord later this year.

Lee acquired the Post-Dispatch and other Pulitzer Inc.-owned newspapers in 2005 for nearly $1.5 billion.

Michele Munz is a health reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.