From the news­room to your let­ter­box

As the Sun­day Star-Times counts down to next week’s re­launch as a com­pact news­pa­per, we thought we’d give you an in­sight into what it takes to cre­ate your favourite Sun­day read as well as in­tro­duce our new crop of colum­nists.

Sunday Star-Times - - FOCUS - BRITTANY KEOGH

Whirr, whish clack. Whirr, whish, clack.

The pa­per rolls through the press so fast that head­lines and im­ages be­come a blur.

It’s 10.30pm on Satur­day at the print­ing fac­tory in Eller­slie, Auck­land and pro­duc­tion of the Sun­day StarTimes has just got un­der way.

Dur­ing the next few hours more than 30,000 copies of the news­pa­per will be printed, folded, stacked, pack­aged and loaded onto trucks for de­liv­er­ies around the up­per North Is­land in the wee hours of Sun­day morn­ing.

News­pa­pers to be de­liv­ered to the south­ern half of the coun­try are printed in Pe­tone and Christchurch.

Jour­nal­ists, colum­nists and pho­tog­ra­phers have spent the past week chas­ing news tips, con­duct­ing in­ter­views, com­pos­ing pic­tures and writ­ing (and some­times re-writ­ing) sto­ries that tens of thou­sands of Ki­wis con­sume over their Sun­day morn­ing cof­fee .

The process be­gins when Star-Times ed­i­tor Jonathan Milne or print pro­duc­ers on the late-night Satur­day shift send im­age files of each page af­ter it’s been edited, proof-read and signed off.

Then, with the push of only a few but­tons the plates for the presses are made. It’s a far more ef­fi­cient task than it was only a few decades ago.

Rather than staff as­sem­bling each let­ter into rows by hand, a laser etches the grooves into a thin sheet of A2 metal.

Those plates are then loaded into the print­ers, along with thou­sands of reams of pa­per, and the ma­chines start to churn.

Once they’ve been printed the news­pa­pers are flat­tened, as­sem­bled – in­clud­ing in­sert­ing pre-printed parts of the pa­per such as Sun­day mag­a­zine, Es­cape and Busi­ness – and stacked while staff watch over the process care­fully to make sure the ma­chines run smoothly.

Wind­ing across the ceil­ing are nar­row metal struc­tures that re­sem­ble roller­coaster tracks, with step in­clines and de­clines. They’re used to trans­port the printed pa­pers to the part of the fac­tory where they’re stacked into piles, then wrapped in plas­tic and hauled onto wait­ing trucks us­ing a fork­lift.

The whole oper­a­tion is seam­less.

Ev­ery­one at the fac­tory, as well as news­rooms from Whangarei to In­ver­cargill, has a dif­fer­ent job. But they’re all work­ing toward a com­mon goal – to put to­gether a pa­per Ki­wis can count on to give them the best qual­ity news, fea­tures and opin­ions to read, pon­der and en­joy dur­ing their week­end.

Mid­night at the Eller­slie print­ing press and the StarTimes is rolling.

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