Printing, delivery changes in store for Pine JournalChange is afoot in the local newspaper industry, and for readers of the Pine Journal and affiliated newspapers, it’s all good news.
By: Wendy Johnson/Candace Renalls, Pine Journal
Change is afoot in the local newspaper industry, and for readers of the Pine Journal and affiliated newspapers, it’s all good news.
Last Thursday Forum Communications Company, the regional newspaper chain that owns and prints the Pine Journal, the Northland Smart Shopper, the Duluth News Tribune, the Budgeteer News, the Lake County News Chronicle and the Superior Telegram, ordered a new state-of-the-art Goss newspaper press that should be up and running by the end of September.
For readers, that means the area newspapers will continue in print form for years to come. And by October, they’ll see better print quality, higher-resolution pictures and more color throughout the paper.
“It’s a big commitment to print,” said Lloyd Case, Forum’s president and CEO. “We invest a lot of money in the digital side, too – in people, software and designs. So we do both. We can grow both. We do believe print is here for a long time, and we’re not going to give up on that.”
Forum Communications is also is investing in a new production center.
The new press can’t be installed in the Duluth News Tribune’s downtown building while still running the current press. And the site at 424 W. First St. is no longer conducive for the big tractor-trailers that use the rear alley for pickups and deliveries. So last week, Forum closed on the purchase of Bernick’s Beverages former distributing center at 4305 Airpark Blvd. in Duluth.
The 35,000-square-foot site is 10 years old and move-in ready. It has the multiple loading docks, large garage doors and the space for big trucks to load and unload that the newspaper needs in not only a production plant but also a distribution center.
A second press – a used one from another Forum newspaper – also will be brought to the new production plant to boost printing capacity even further. More than one newspaper can then be printed at a time, and other commercial printing jobs can be taken on to boost newspaper revenues.
Forum Communications’ investment is even greater than the cost of a new press and building. Add on the additional production equipment needed, expense of moving in and installing a second press and myriad other costs, and the investment reaches $5 million to $7 million, Case said.
That’s the biggest capital investment Forum is making this year in any of its newspapers, Case said.
“Every year, Forum Communications invests a certain amount of profits back into the company,” Case said. “We just believe newspapers are here to stay. We’re going to continue to invest in our properties and provide our employees with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. That’s our philosophy.”
Pine Journal transitions to carrier delivery
Another change on the horizon applies strictly to Pine Journal subscribers. Beginning March 1, approximately half of those subscribers will transition to carrier delivery. Up until now, Pine Journal subscribers have gotten their paper delivered exclusively through the United States Postal Service with their daily mail.
“We are making this change due to the uncertainty regarding the changes expected at the United States Post Office,” said Circulation Director Shari Green.
In-county Pine Journal subscribers affected by the change should receive their newspapers in the paper tubes at their homes no later than 6 a.m. on Thursday. If for any reason you do not receive your Pine Journal in the morning, call the customer service department at 218-723-5252 to report being missed. If the call is received before 8 a.m., the missed paper will be redelivered that same day. If the call is received after 8 a.m. (and before 3 p.m.), the Pine Journal will be delivered to the missed subscriber on Friday morning.
Not all Pine Journals will be changing to carrier delivery – only around half of them at this time.
“In some areas, newspaper carrier delivery is just not an option and those papers will continue to be mailed,” said Green.
Perhaps the biggest up side of the change for affected subscribers, will be the fact they will receive their Pine Journals on the same day they are printed – Thursday – instead of having to wait the extra day for mail delivery.
All subscribers whose delivery will be affected by the upcoming change have received notification in advance of March 1. Anyone wishing to subscribe to the Pine Journal and wanting to know if they will be included in the carrier delivery area can contact Julie Schulz or Kathy Clampitt at 218-879-1950.