Lee Enterprises Centralizes Production with ProImage NewsWay

Lee Enterprises is rolling out workflow software to standardize its page production. The publisher has deployed ProImage’s NewsWay (Booth 4645) workflow software at a handful of its publications, with expanded implementation expected next year, said Dominic Crews, director of operations at The Times of Northwest Indiana.

The Times is hosting the app at its Munster facility during the initial rollout; a backup recovery site at another Lee paper is currently being deployed.

Papers using NewsWay so far include The Times, the Citizen in Auburn, NY, the Ledger Independent in Maysville, KY, the Rapid City (SD) Journal, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Wisconsin State Journal, and the Sioux City (Iowa) Journal.

“NewsWay becomes a centralized system for RIPing so that we don’t have to house RIPs at every site,” Crews said. “This gives even our smallest paper, even weeklies and shoppers, cutting-edge technology they wouldn’t have otherwise.” In addition to RIPing, NewsWay will be used for imposition, softproofing, production tracking, and oversight of various CTP devices.

“It’s a full publication-management system,” Crews said. “It will help us improve our efficiency and gives us a toolset that can be used by any number of our papers.”

Kris Julius, The Times’ prepress and special operations project manager, said Lee sites will “transfer files to us and we build the pages in prepress using NewsWay to manage the entire workflow process and ultimately deliver TIFF files back to each site to make plates and print their papers.” All pages and plates are centrally tracked, permitting press and prepress operators to know the status of each page, ProImage said.

Lee first looked at expanding its existing workflow system to stitch together both The Times and the disaster recovery sites, Julius said, but was not comfortable with its redundancy capability. An extensive look at other vendors’ products led the publisher to ProImage. “ProImage was part of the process,” he said. “They were proactive about this solution and had the answer.” Julius said the transition to the new workflow has been smooth, although The Times has made some operational changes regarding how staffers work on pages with a focus on maximizing NewsWay’s automation features. “One thing we noticed is that before, there was a lot of doing and checking and checking and doing,” he said. “So we worked backward to find ways to do things like giving advertisers the opportunity to check their ads earlier in the process. We now have a right-time production mentality.”

While there are still those “stop the presses” situations, Julius said the overall goal is to expedite all of the processes the publisher can on the back end to squeeze out maximum efficiency.

Like other major publishers, Lee is in the process of standardizing front-end and prepress operations, in its case rolling out apps from Agfa and TownNews.com for photo toning and CMS, respectively.