During the past five to ten years, the evolution of different media, and especially Internet-related services, has had a direct impact on the printed newspaper. Companies that have remained stable for several years are today exploring and employing new mechanisms to increase efficiency while maintaining their audiences. Although web offset has been for long the basic production process for printing newspapers, the latest developments implemented in equipment and software for newspaper production have achieved a high degree of automation in prepress, press, and post-press. At the same time, the demand of younger audiences for increasingly diverse and personalized products—as well as the emergence of new services, such as the production of commercial printing jobs—has transformed the newspaper production model (Christensen, 2006). Small newspapers, as well as medium and large, are challenged to compete in this new environment. They have to plan for the future in accordance with their opportunities and limitations. The main purpose of this research was to define a descriptive profile and to represent a graphical workflow model for small newspaper production. Information on the degree of automation, equipment employed, and the extent to which production has adopted the hybrid model (semi-commercial production) are also included in this descriptive profile. The study consisted of seven newspapers with an average daily circulation between 12,000 and 50,000 copies. Six of the participants are located in the U.S., and one is located in Latin America. The main source of information was a survey consisting of demographic, circulation, audience, and production workflow questions. Additionally, the researcher conducted personal interviews and field tours at three of these newspapers. The key findings were: • For the majority of the respondents, the newspaper is between 21% and 38% of the total production (measured in total number of copies printed, including TMCs and commercial jobs). • Six of the seven participants have experienced a reduction in circulation during the past few years. In addition to this trend, the age of the core audience has increased, with the average between 50 to 64 years of age for most newspapers. • All of the respondents currently use coldset web offset as the production process. Two companies have plans to expand their facilities by acquiring equipment with heatset dryers and automatic functions. • In general, the respondents do not use a wide variety of finishing processes. The only post-press process used by all newspapers is inserting. In three cases, this is the only post-press process used. • The degree of automation found in the participants’ workflows is relatively low compared to the capabilities offered by printing equipment manufacturers. The stage of production that shows the highest level of automation is prepress. xi • The process that is most frequently a bottleneck is finishing. None of the respondents consider plate production or the press run to be bottlenecks in the workflow. • The majority of the participants responded that they have not implemented a process to ensure quality. It was also found that little information is collected within the respondents’ production processes. • The physical changes considered by the participants are mostly related to contraction of the core product. • All of the surveyed newspapers produce at least one kind of commercial job. The production of other newspapers and inserts are the two most common commercial jobs produced. The majority of the respondents only offer limited types of commercial jobs. • Although the two preferred strategies among the respondents are separating printing from publishing and consolidating printing facilities, there is no clear trend towards any specific strategy. Three of the newspapers stated that they have no specific business strategy for the near future.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Newspaper publishing--Case studies; Newspaper publishing--Forecasting; Workflow; Printing--Technological innovations; Printing industry--Forecasting

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Print Media (CIAS)


Vogl, Howard


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: Z286.N48 A58 2008


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