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Old 09-13-2006, 05:53 PM   #7
djb
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
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Bo,

Apologies, I've been away from the forum for a month or so, and only picked up this thread now.

As Kathleen said, I've been working newspapers from a production and printing side since the late 1970s. You have some very general questions, but please feel free to pick my brain as you go forward with specifics. You have my permission to email me if you have questions that require revealing confidential information.

Paper and printability... You need to decide on basis weight. We print on 45 gsm newsprint (grams per square meter) which I think is 127 pound. Most daily papers in North America (I'm in Canada) print on 47.5 gsm, but are moving to the lighter stock as a cost-saving measure. Personally I really like the 45 gsm paper we print on.

The size of your paper will depend on the press you run on. We print on a Goss Urbanite that has a cutoff of 22 3/4" which is the width of the paper when it's opened flat. Because of the cutoff on the press, our page is 11 3/8" wide (Except we fold with a lip for inserting so the front half of our cover signature is wider than the back half, but that's a different discussion).

The press can run different roll widths. We use a 30" roll, so our newspaper is 15" tall.

I don't know what the common press sizes are in the UK, so talk to a variety of printers. A relatively new size that is making some inroads here in NA is the "Berliner" wich is a squarish looking product that requires, again, a specific press. I'm seeing it introduced in some US locations, particulary aimed at the morning commuter train market.

For print quality, you will have to look at the varying grades of newsprint available to you. Beyond basis weight, you need to consider brightness. We print on a fairly bright newsprint (I'm at home and don't have the L*a*b values at hand).

About two years ago our corporate owners cut what they thought was a deal with a west coast mill for 40 gsm paper. We noticed the difference immediately, and so did our readers. It SOUNDED different when you turned the page, for one.

For a number of months I was puzzled by a regular complaint from our readers that we were using a lighter black ink than we had in the past. Of course, we had not changed ink in any way.

Finally, I figured out what our readers meant but didn't know how to tell us. The CONTRAST of the page was lower, because the brightness of the newsprint had decreased substantially. Because the brain set the background as a white point, it apppeared that the black ink was not as black as it used to be.

Thankfully, the experiment lasted less than a year and we're back on our preferred paper.

Again, feel free to ask me anything.
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