Magazine article Editor & Publisher

E&P Technical: Weekly's Waxer Runs Cold

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

E&P Technical: Weekly's Waxer Runs Cold

Article excerpt

In 1987 Quark Inc. released QuarkXPress and Arthur Carter launched The New York Observer. Today, Xpress has more than one million users around the world and the Observer sells more than 50,000 copies, in and out of the city. But only since August has the weekly been paginating full pages.

Early on, many weeklies found that desktop publishing suited their budgets. The then-new technology's drawbacks at dailies with big staffs producing many pages on short deadlines often disappeared at weeklies with fewer people and pages and more time. Dailies needed publishing systems, but a weekly ready to jettison a phototypesetter that generated only galleys could cobble together PCs or Macintoshes, word-processing and page-makeup software, and laser printers. Pioneers even had Ventura and PageMaker before XPress came along.

Carter sold his 13,294-circulation paid weekly Litchfield County (Conn.) Times, along with three monthly magazines, to Journal Register Co. in 2001 for undisclosed terms. He also was co-owner of Long Island's East Hampton (N.Y.) Star, which reported heavily on local social elites.

The former investment banker who also taught journalism at New York University held onto the Observer, however, which claims a paid circulation of 52,000 copies reaching 164,400 upscale readers, 70% of whom live in the city, most in Manhattan.

With its salmon-hued newsprint and distinctive page-one color illustrations, the six-column broadsheet contract printed at 100 lines per inch on Long Island no longer accepts film from advertisers.

While fairly reflecting the reality of its market, the digital diktat to advertisers also indicates the paper's own workflow change.

Although the Observer may be the same age as XPress and may have used the software from the start, that didn't mean that paste-up sheets, waxers, and razor knives weren't the norm for most of its life.

"We've paginated the pages since I've been here, in Quark," says Production Manager Tyler Rush, who joined the paper in the late 1990s. Probably from the beginning, he continues, the process has relied on tile pagination -- broadsheet pages assembled from XPress documents output on 11-by-17-inch laser-printed sheets, with ads printed separately and pasted onto mechanicals before editorial matter is composed. …

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