A Modern World: A Look Inside the New Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Printing Facility

By Yang, Nu | Editor & Publisher, December 2014 | Go to article overview

A Modern World: A Look Inside the New Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Printing Facility


Yang, Nu, Editor & Publisher


It was a long time coming when the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette made the announcement in March 2013 that it was moving its production to a new building 15 miles outside of its current downtown location.

According to director of operations Lisa Hurm, parent company Block Communications, Inc. had been looking into the process for about 20 years. The company had looked at every option and partnership, and even considered outsourcing its printing project, but Hurm said they were never able to find a "good source locally."

"Pittsburgh has a strong readership market," she said. "We wanted to make sure we maintained a quality newspaper and kept our deadlines, which is important in such a huge sports town."

After the paper got the go-ahead that spring, the hunt was on for a new location. They found it in a 245,000 square foot building in Clinton, Pa.--a former solar panel manufacturing facility equipped to house new presses, along with printing and production, paper storage, offices and distribution. Previously, all operations were spread out between four different facilities throughout the Pittsburgh area. Now, eveiything could operate under one roof.

Hurm declined to comment on financial terms, but said the total cost of the project was a tenth of the cost that was projected in 2000.

Renovations started in January 2014. By April, all of the equipment was installed. Goss International Corp. in Durham, N.H. built the new Uniliner presses, replacing the original letterpress/flexo press equipment that dated back to the 1950s. According to the Post-Gazette, the new presses can now produce up to 48 pages in full-color at three times the speed of the letterpress/flexo units, and can turn out 90,000 newspapers per hour. Additional equipment included a new Harland Simon control system and desk, Ferag HPS stackers, Puzzleflow prepress automatic and optimization software, Krause CTP lines and Bluefin processors, Nela plate punch/ bend and bin sortation system, and a QI color registration system.

The facility came to life in stages: first with insertions in mid-April, then in early September, the first print edition of the Post-Gazette rolled off the presses at its new location. Hurm said the first night was "nerve-wrecking," but she soon let out a sigh of relief as the "first run was picture perfect. …

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