Colum­bus Dis­patch de­buts new size

Newspapers & Technology Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - By Chuck Mooza­kis Ed­i­tor-in-chief

Af­ter more than a year of plan­ning, a com­pletely re­designed and re­sized Colum­bus (Ohio) Dis­patch made its de­but Jan. 28 as a fully sec­tioned com- pact broad­sheet.

The Dis­patch is the world’s first news­pa­per to adopt the for­mat, made pos­si­ble by Pressline Ser­vices Inc.’s 3Vo­lu­tion press mod­i­fi­ca­tion of­fer­ing.

The re­tool­ing is part of a larger project that in­cluded an agree­ment be­tween the news­pa­per and Gan­nett Co. Inc. to pro­duce The Cincin­nati En­quirer and Ken­tucky En­quirer in the same for­mat.

The re­designed Dis­patch now mea­sures 14.75 inches high and 11 inches wide; the pa­per for­merly mea­sured 22 inches high and 11.5 inches wide.

Pressline con­verted The Dis­patch’s TKS (USA) M-72 presses by re-en­gi­neer­ing cylin­ders to print three, rather than two, pages in a sin­gle rev­o­lu­tion. The ven­dor also in­stalled spe­cial fold­ers, from Foldex Corp., and other com­po­nents nec­es­sary to per­mit pro­duc­tion of the newly sized Dis­patch.

Three-around print­ing means a boost in color, and in straight mode, a 50 per­cent boost in press pro­duc­tiv­ity. To that end, The Dis­patch will be able to print 90,000 copies per hour on its re-en­gi­neered presses, al­low­ing the pa­per to ex­tend the life of its machines with­out hav­ing to pay for new, higher-ca­pac­ity presses.

To en­able ad­di­tional pro­duc­tion flex­i­bil­ity, crews left ex­ist­ing TKS fold­ers in place for jobs

re­quir­ing 22-inch cut­offs.

Other up­grades

The Dis­patch also up­graded its pre­press op­er­a­tions, adding three Krause LS Per­for­mance XXL vi­o­let CTP sys­tems and as­so­ci­ated Nela punch-ben­ders and sor­ta­tion sys­tems. Each line can gen­er­ate 160 three-around plates per hour. The vi­o­let LPN-NV plates are sup­plied by Fu­ji­film.

The pa­per also bol­stered its Har­land Simon Prima Es­prit au­toim­po­si­tion­ing sys­tem to ad­dress the new plate sizes.

The Dis­patch added 12 Model 600 stack­ers from Quipp en­gi­neered to ac­com­mo­date vari­able sizes and also tapped Goss In­ter­na­tional to mod­ify pock­ets on its four Mag­na­pak in­sert­ers. The presses were en­gi­neered for three web sizes — 42, 44 and 46 inches.

The Dis­patch’s move to the new for­mat was ini­tially sched­uled for last fall but Dis­patch Print­ing Co. ex­ecs post­poned the launch in or­der to ad­dress pro­duc­tion is­sues that emerged dur­ing test­ing.

Chang­ing role

Phil Pikelny, The Dis­patch’s chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer, said the con­ver­sion is re­defin­ing the role the news­pa­per will play in Colum­bus.

“I think this is such a user­friendly and user-di­rected change that for the in­dus­try as a whole, and cer­tainly for us in Colum­bus, this is what we would call a game changer. We are see­ing this in terms of cur­rent sub­scribers as well as those who weren’t sub­scribers tak­ing a sec­ond look (at sub­scrib­ing).”

Pikelny said Dis­patch edi­tors and ex­ec­u­tives also re­al­ize that de­spite the pa­per’s smaller for­mat, con­tent mustn’t be re­duced. “The news­pa­per might be smaller in size, but the con­tent has to be the same as it was in the broad­sheet, or read­ers will clob­ber us.”

DPC spent thou­sands of dol­lars to seed the mar­ket in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the change, con­ven­ing dozens of sur­veys with read­ers and ad­ver­tis­ers. In ad­di­tion, The Dis­patch has pur­chased tele­vi­sion and ra­dio time to pro­mote the new for­mat.

“We’ll see what the ex­cite­ment trans­lates into in the coming months,” Pikelny said. “But all signs are pos­i­tive.”

The Dis­patch is ex­pected to be­gin print­ing and dis­tribut­ing The Cincin­nati En­quirer and Ken­tucky En­quirer in March.

Photo: Jes­sica Shade

The Colum­bus Dis­patch’s new for­mat al­lows sec­tions, an im­por­tant ben­e­fit to read­ers and ad­ver­tis­ers.

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