Up to 81 jobs are at risk as the newspaper group that owns the Sunderland Echo plans to start printing the paper from Sheffield.
The change could take effect as early as October 2012.
Johnston Press says the landmark Sunderland Echo building at Pennywell will survive the move, and remain the base for around 300 staff.
It is now also home to the Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail after the three titles were merged into one editorial hub earlier in 2012.
The paper's editor, Rob Lawson, announced he would be leaving his post as the news was broken to staff.
He tweeted: "Sorry to say I'm leaving the #sunderlandecho after 10 years in the editor's chair. Leaving behind incredibly talented and committed team! Ta."
Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson expressed her disappointment on Twitter.
Fellow journalists also took to Twitter as the news broke.
BBC reporter Sharon Barbour said: "Huge shame: 81 jobs in Sunderland under threat as Sunderland Echo printing to close and Editor Rob Lawson leaving."
Northern Echo editor Peter Barron tweeted: "Just heard about editor Rob Lawson leaving Sunderland Echo. Very sad - great editor, thoroughly decent bloke."
Northern Echo journalist Tony Kearney said: "Rob Lawson, one of the best editors I ever worked for, has quit Sunderland Echo - sad day for the paper, sad day for the region's Press."
And former Evening Chronicle editor Paul Roberston wrote: "Another great editor departs. Good luck to @RobLawson1. Big loss to the industry."
Johnston Press Chief Operating Officer Danny Camiade said: "It is proposed to close Sunderland Web and transfer the majority of printing to Sheffield Web, with some external contract print support.
"Should this proposal go ahead up to 81 roles would be affected.
"The Pennywell Northeast Press Ltd site would remain the base for nearly 300 editorial, commercial and support staff.
"It is anticipated any changes to printing would take effect towards the end of October 2012 following a full and meaningful consultation process."
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