A Web site produced by insiders at Gannett, the Arlington, Va.-based owner of The Daily Advertiser, The Daily World in Opelousas and three other Louisiana newspapers, reports that the company is rolling out a plan to consolidate advertising design and to eliminate ad-design positions at dozens of newspapers nationwide.

The report at Gannettoid.com includes a memo sent by Austin Ryan, Gannett’s vice president of operations, to the executives of the company’s publishing groups detailing the plan. “As I had mentioned early on to the Group Presidents,” Ryan writes, “this will be challenging but should allow us technology to enhance our relationship with customers as well as free up time for our sales group to grow revenue.”

According to the memo and an attached rollout schedule, operations in Lafayette and Opelousas will convert on May 17, 2010. It’s unclear what effect this will have on employment at Gannett’s operations in Acadiana; the company has eliminated dozens of positions at both newspapers over the last year.

(Monday update: A source close to Gannett's Acadiana operations says there are roughly 10 advertising graphic designers remaining at the office on Bertrand Drive and that the company will likely keep only one or two of them after the ad-design consolidation. That same source says Gannett will soon unveil a Web site that will allow advertising customers to design their own ads.)

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