Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Bad Color Reproduction

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Bad Color Reproduction

Article excerpt

Bad Newspaper color reproduction is costing newspapers big money -- really big money.

"Why should you implement a color management system? The reason to do this is so we can go after the $1.8 billion in advertising newspapers don't get because we don't do good newspaper color," said Ed Lehr, new technology manager at the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press.

Lehr and the Chicago Tribune's quality and technical training manager, Paul Lynch, said the wildly inconsistent quality of color among newspapers is chasing away national advertisers.

Speaking at last week's Nexpo in New Orleans, Lynch characterized the state of newspaper color reproduction of national advertising as nothing less than a "failure."

Lynch said newspapers should wake up to how much money they are losing because of poor color reproduction.

Newspapers, of course, are already well aware of the direct costs: Make-goods, ad schedule cancellations and ad write-offs.

Beyond that, though, are what Lynch calls the huge indirect costs: an individual newspaper's loss of future sales and good will -- and the denigration of newspaper itself as an advertising medium.

At the same time, however, Lynch and Lehr said these big losses can be turned into big earnings with a rigorous -- but relatively simple -- color management process.

The Newspaper Association of America's Color Management Working Group is developing a process that will build and maintain a quality color reproduction "profile" of individual newspapers.

This profile can be incorporated into electronic files of advertising to ensure that each newspaper consistently hits the quality color targets set by advertisers.

The profiles -- or press "fingerprints" -- will be maintained in a profile library on the World Wide Web by the NAA, Lehr said.

"Separations will be . . . customized for your conditions -- which means your output [devices] and your printing conditions," Lehr said. …

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