Our commitment to our readers

A $10-million investment in an improved product represents The Vindicator’s continued commitment to the Valley.

All of the parts make a whole.

That certainly is true of changes coming to The Vindicator and the efforts made since 2004 to bring them to you.

This week, we will begin printing The Vindicator on a modern press with state-of-the-art technology.

Fifty-five flatbed trucks delivered the more than 2 million pounds of equipment. That’s the weight of 748 Cobalts. Sixteen printing units and two folders from eight presses (five from the Los Angeles Times) were reassembled in The Vindicator’s downtown facility as a new offset printing press. At 143 feet long and 38.5 feet tall, it looms over its counterpart, the old letterpress printing press, which has steadily printed news and advertising for nearly 40 years.

As a result, “The People’s Paper” will also roll out a new look: brighter, bolder, sharper and larger print, more color and a new contemporary size.

“This is a historic event for The Vindicator’s staff and its loyal readers and advertisers,” said Betty H. Brown Jagnow, publisher. “Typically, a newspaper replaces its printing press only two or three times in 100 years. We replaced our press in order to provide our readers a higher-quality newspaper and to remain competitive in today’s marketplace.”

Piecing together a complete press from eight different presses was an unprecedented undertaking in the newspaper business, she noted.

“If not for our Production Director Jim Davies’ daily involvement in every detail from the start of the project and the more recent concentrated effort of Rick Wineman, our pressroom foreman, we would not have been able to make this work,” Brown Jagnow said. “Many others have played very important roles in this project as well. We thank everyone involved for their hard work and contributions.”

The new press, a redesigned daily newspaper, as well as Neighbors and Vindy.com, represent The Vindicator Printing Company’s continued commitment to the Mahoning Valley and downtown Youngstown. It’s a $10-million investment in the Valley: $6.8 million for equipment and $3.2 million for labor; all of it union and most of it local.

Moving from letterpress printing to offset-press printing will give readers bright, crisp color reproduction that jumps out of the page, said Mark A. Brown, general manager.

Still, we “do not have the deep pockets of the big companies. We are a locally owned, independent business. We could not afford a new press, so we bought used equipment, reconditioned it and upgraded it to make our own press,” Brown said.

The press is capable of printing 96 pages at one time. The 16 printing units and two double folders are also designed to run as two separate presses at once, so The Vindicator could print an advertising circular while printing its own paper – up to 70,000 papers per hour on each press.

“All the printing units are American-made by the Goss Co., which is why we could piece them together as one press,” Brown said. All of the parts came from great distances – Los Angeles, Arizona, New York, North Carolina, Illinois and Indiana – as well as Helsinki, Finland.

The press is equipped with state-of-the-art computer controls and quality systems. Plus, it’s a “shaftless press,” which overcomes some of the quality and other limitations of a traditional printing press. The Vindicator’s new press was re-engineered in Arizona to add this technology.

Black ink is piped to each unit from two 6,000-gallon ink tanks while color inks are piped from three 1,500-gallon tanks.

As a result of the new press, the newspaper’s size is now more compact; comparable to today’s Wall Street Journal and The Plain Dealer. Newspaper companies began to scale down the width of their papers in recent years to save on the growing expense of newsprint. The Vindicator was the next-to-the-last newspaper in the nation that used such a wide size of paper.

One of the first changes readers will notice is on the front page.

In The Vindicator’s 141-year history, the name appearing on A1 has had really only two variations, a blackletter flag that ran from the late 1800s until 1990, and our current flag, which has appeared for the last 20 years.

Longtime readers will recognize the new flag as similar to the version that appeared on The Vindicator from 1986-1990, with slight alterations to modernize the appearance. The Vindicator logotype was created by the influential American typographer Edward Benguiat, who also created logotypes for, among others, The New York Times and Sports Illustrated.

Beyond the flag, the newspaper’s entire design has been retooled.

The main goal of the redesign was to maintain key aspects of the current design, yet refine and improve on others, said Robert McFerren, graphic-arts director, who supervised the redesign over a four-year period.

“I set out to design a newspaper that would simplify our design and style, and – more importantly – create a vibrant, exciting product for our readers,” McFerren said. “The first key element I focused on was finding a larger typeface for our body copy, yet, one that would not reduce our available news hole. I think readers will like the change.”

Another goal of this redesign was to make the newspaper easier for the readers to navigate. By combining the A and B sections into one, the readers gain more space for local news, and the national and international news package is presented in a more orderly and comprehensive way.

The Vindicator will have a daily entertainment and lifestyle section called Valley Life, which will offer broader coverage for our features readers.

Preparation for this new era of The Vindicator involved a lot of work over four years by employees in virtually every department. The company has 259 employees, 55 percent of whom belong to a union. In addition, 315 independent carriers work hard to deliver The Vindicator to you every day.

Again, all parts of the whole.

The end result is in your hands.

More like this from vindyarchives.com