Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Converting to Digital Color

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Converting to Digital Color

Article excerpt

WHILE EVERYONE ELSE was buckling down for the long haul, Greg Anderson at the Tacoma, Wash., Morning News Tribune was on a shopping spree.

Today, his paper has more than 25 Macintoshes, including 12 Quadra 800s, four Quadra 900s, four Centris 650s and six FXs in editorial (for imaging, not reporting), with 15 more expected by spring.

"We're gearing up for QPS [Quark Publishing System] to be our pagination system," explained Anderson, assistant to the publisher/electronic publishing. "QPS 1.1 will allow us to use QuarkXPress 3.2, which has EliColor ' tables built in. We'll import RGB TIFF files and be able to output straight from Quark."

Four years ago, then-managing editor Norman Bell hired Anderson, formerly of the Detroit News, Dallas Morning News and Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News, to "move the paper into the digital world."

Anderson said, "I don't think they realized what it would take."

His arrival coincided with one of the most severe economic downturns in the industry's history. Today, Tribune publisher Kelso Gillenwater justifies Anderson's expenditures by pointing to the 125,000-circulation (143,000 Sundays) paper's recent and relatively rapid growth.

"We're in a very competitive environment so we adopted a philosophy that says, 'We'll win by establishing very high standards for product innovation and technical proficiency.' Our business success was good despite the recession so it proves our philosophy right."

Gillenwater said the Tribune broke into the top 100 daily newspapers a couple of years ago and today is the 88th-largest daily in the country. A McClatchy Newspapers company profile puts the Tribune in the second-fastest revenue and profit growth position in 1992 throughout the 20'newspaper chain, which includes California's Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee and Modesto Bee.

Anderson said that when he moved to Tacoma, the editorial department had two computers in the newsroom and eight enlargers in a "huge" darkroom.

"l now have seven computers with desks and lockers for photographers where the darkroom was," he said.

In the print room, used only a couple hours a day, "chemicals and developer, fumes, print dryers and garbage cans full of prints that didn't make it were all over the place,," Anderson said. "It's the way we're taught, but it's a terrible waste of money and a hazard to health and the environment."

He said his belief in the Macintosh platform and its open architecture laid the groundwork for the system configuration that he has in place today. After seeing a Nikon LS-3500, he pressed the managing editor for money to buy the film scanner and a Mac. Without money "earmarked for computers," he said, "I took it out of photo equipment money."

The only photo-editing solution at the time was Adobe Photoshop, he said.

"I figured if Photoshop didn't become the industry standard, something else for the platform would come out that would be point and click," he said. His staff still relies on Photoshop. "Fortunately," he added, "nothing else came out that was better."

The paper also stopped paying another shop $2,500 a month to output its non-deadline graphics. It bought a Hyphen RIP and Ultresetter to output them in-house.

Anderson took Tribune photojournalist Bill Hunter off the street to help achieve his goal of scanning "everything into the Macintosh" which the department began doing in November 1990. Hunter learned Photoshop "inside out" customized it for Tribune use and wrote a step-by-step manual (available on PressLink) for staff that covers "everything from loading negatives to scanning to changing tones in Photoshop to outputting," Anderson said.

Just before buying some FXs, Anderson heard about the Macintosh Quadra models, so he bought one FX, which he planned to trade in as soon as the Quadras were delivered.

Today, however, he has three FXs in the newsroom and a Quadra with MacLeaf boards to view wirephotos. …

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