NATIONAL NEWSPAPER WEEK: A day in the life of the newspaper
Each edition of the newspaper you’re reading is unique, to be sure, but each one goes through the same process. They get their start days before it is published and delivered.
Getting the daily paper ready actually begins two days before publication in the ad department. Advertising space must be reserved to ensure the ad will publish on the requested day, and an ad layout must be designed to send to the production department.
On the day of publication, all classified ads and front-page lines are transferred to the production department to be placed onto the reserved space. These pages are then given to the classified team to proofread.
Pages of that day’s paper are also delivered to the ad department. These pages contain the ads that will be published in that day’s paper. The advertising consultants review these pages to ensure the correct ad is being published.
The newsroom is made up not only of the familiar reporters, editors and photographers, but a multitude of page designers as well. Once the stories are written and edited and the photos are taken and electronically calibrated for the press, they are placed electronically on their respective pages by a paginator who shapes the pages into what you read each day.
While reporters and photographers work throughout the day and night, the newspaper is put together during the morning each day. Work starts early each day, and most of the pages are built on deadline during the morning.
The goal is to have everything finished and proofread by about 10 a.m. so the papers can be printed and delivered in town for the lunchtime crowd. For Sunday’s edition, employees are here well past midnight on Saturday so the newspaper can be delivered early on Sunday.
While much of the on-deadline work is organized chaos, we do meet briefly each morning to discuss what stories will go where in the paper, based on a variety of factors. Of course, if a story breaks it can change everything!
Customer advertisements and electronic files are created in this stage of the process. Files for the daily paper are now converted from page layout documents to PDFs (Portable Document Format) and processed though the refine system to make sure the files have no font or image issues and are the correct CMYK color space.
Then the files are laid into a template, created by this department, so they are in the correct space to image onto the paper to run on the press. Proofs are then made for final checks before the positioned files are sent digitally to the platemaker.
Easily the highlight of any tour through the newspaper offices is the roar of the massive printing press in the basement of the building. The crew that operates the press handles pages that are sent electronically to be processed — about 36 press plates each day. Preparing these plates to run on the press takes about an hour.
The plates are mounted on the press in positions to match colors and page numbers. It takes about one hour and about 1ﾽ tons of paper to print 15,000 copies each day.
SHOWN HERE: Matt Fulton moved a roll of newsprint to put in position on the press. One roll weighs 800 pounds.
All the work done by other departments at the paper means nothing if the product can’t be delivered to the outside world. That’s where this department comes in. Almost every day — 359 days a year — our motor route drivers travel more than 2,300 miles, and our 55 walking carriers traverse more than 100 miles to deliver the Gazette to our 40,000 readers.
They deliver more than 350,000 copies in an average month. And, like the Postal Service, our carriers make their rounds in all kinds of weather. Circulation customer service representatives are available every day: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 6 to 10:30 a.m. on Sundays.