Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Small-Town Plants True to Their Roots

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Small-Town Plants True to Their Roots

Article excerpt

Publishers build to consolidate and to maintain local production

When the Brown family two years ago sold its Cortez (Colo.) Journal to the company that operates the daily Durango (Colo.) Herald, the 7,200- circulation thrice-weekly had been in its building since the 1930s. "We can't expand at that location," said the papers' publisher, Richard G. Ballantine.

Rather than see their operation in Montezuma County, in the southwestern corner of Colorado, merge with that of the neighboring La Plata County daily, Journal employees will move into their own new headquarters this year.

Bucking the trend to consolidate operations of commonly owned nearby newspapers, Ballantine remarked: "We want to keep those jobs in Cortez."

But the small, two-story building is an "awkward work environment" for the staff of 40, said Ballantine. So his company is building 24,000 square feet of office and production space planned and designed by designAlliance, Boulder, Colo., for a site that keeps the paper in town -- across from a park, a block off Main Street, the publisher said. The paper's new home will have a community room for use by local groups.

Editor Suzy Meyer said more press units are needed because more color has meant fewer pages. Besides printing the Journal, Ballantine said, "We do a fair amount of commercial work out of [the current] plant." Among other publications, the plant prints a sister weekly, the 750- circulation Mancos Times-Tribune. For those reasons, when the six-unit Goss Community press is relocated, it will be installed with a second folder and two adjacent stacked units to increase its four-color capacity.

A stitcher and trimmer are to be purchased later, and, should it become necessary, Ballantine added, "we'll have plenty of room for a mechanical inserter."

"We are definitely planning to be moved by Christmas," said Meyer, adding that her press crew promised no down days.

In fall of next year, Horvitz Newspapers Inc. expects to open a second plant at its Kent, Wash., print site to handle not only that community's 22,628-circulation South County Journal, but also the 26,969-circulation Eastside Journal in Bellevue, and six weeklies. All are in western King County, most near Seattle. (Out on the Olympic Peninsula, the smaller Peninsula Daily News handles its own production.)

Production functions at the larger daily won't disappear, however. Bellevue's universal copy desk will continue paginating both Journals (prepared with a DewarView system), sending page files by T1 line to the pressroom in Kent. …

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