Concerns are rising about the selective news consumption habits of US readers in this election year. Facing decreased circulation numbers and poor advertising spend, some large cities, which for decades had dual and dueling daily newspapers—one leaning Democratic, the other with Republican...
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Our Changing Medium
Newspaper printers visiting the Graph Expo 2011 News Print Pavilion and the quadrennial drupa show (May 3-16) know that print is not dead, but also acknowledge that it is different. Show goers are looking to cut costs, boost profits, develop cross-platforms, and make informed buying decisions. And they're looking for help from all phases of the production cycle: from struggling press manufacturers to prepress and postpress suppliers, cross-media software developers, and even the struggling press manufacturers who, collectively, have cut more than 10,000 jobs since 2009.
Many attendees at drupa 2012 will question conventional definitions of which printing processes produce which products, projected Goss CEO Jochen Meissner. He expects printers and publishers to be particularly interested in pursuing how they can use different processes—or combinations of processes—to provide their customers with more powerful and cost-effective printed products. "The long-term value and effectiveness of print are not in question, but pressures to stay competitive and profitable are intensifying in every sector," Meissner said. "By...replacing outdated equipment with advanced web offset solutions, printers can address those pressures and take significant cost, time, and inefficiency out of their workflows."
For example, PrintCity Alliance member manroland offers DirectDrive technology and APL (Automatic Plate Loading), the latter of which won the 2011 InterTech Technology Award from Printing Industries of America. "This system reduces typical newspaper plate changes from about 30 minutes to three [minutes]," said Ron Sams, VP of newspaper sales for manroland, Inc. "This is an enormous breakthrough for newspapers looking to consolidate and print back-to-back editions in their prime operating window." Other PrintCity members exhibiting in Dusseldorf include Eltosch, Kurz, Megtec, M-real, Océ, Procemex, Sappi, Sun Chemical, Tolerans, Trelleborg, and UPM.
At last year's WAN-IFRA World Newspaper Week, Swedish manufacturer Tolerans launched a new feature for the publishing industry: thumb-indexing, which allows quicker access to newspaper sections, via a punching system integrated within its stitching systems. "In tabloid-sized newspapers, all sections are inside the main body of the newspaper, which makes it hard to navigate and find each section quickly," said CEO Jan Melin. "This has been a concern for both publishers and readers...Combining both stitching and thumb-indexing in a newspaper enables easy navigation."
At drupa, Muller Martini plans to display 10 machine exhibits, including variable size web offset printing presses and newspaper mailroom systems. The firm's Mailroom Systems business had its own booth within Graph Expo's News Print newspaper pavilion; exhibiting separately for the first time. The unit showcased both its mailroom machinery and software. Company representatives and product experts provided visitors with a firsthand look at equipment and workflow technology, such as its SLS3000 inserting system, SAM software planning and control, and a SLS3000 gripper upgrade. In addition, the WinLincs design structure provides the most advanced and sophisticated inserter control, communication, and data management tool to each of its users—operator, maintenance technician, or data analyst. Muller representatives also demonstrated a variety of rebuilt and refurbished equipment, including rebuilt SLS1000, 2000, and 3000 inserters.
Four other ways newspapers and their pressrooms are adapting and changing:
- Hybrid web offset production
- More compact format sizes
- Digital print advancements, including inkjet
- Outsourced print
As newspaper printers and commercial printers continue to converge, drupa and Graph Expo's News Print pavilion are combined marketplaces and networking hubs that attract and engage show attendees. Representatives from these two print communities come to explore the latest technologies, new applications, and workflow solutions.