Aug 12, 2023

The nonstop rhythm of newspapering

Jul 17, 2023

Newspapers are a 24-hour operation.

In our shop, six days a week, we have people doing tasks to produce our products, which led me to consider 24 hours in our world:

8 a.m. — Our office staff rolls in for the day. Already, our maintenance supervisor has been working for two hours, clearing recycled material from the previous night’s run and setting up work for the day ahead.

Our circulation staff is by their phones, taking customer service calls and working with carriers to deliver missed papers. Our business office is handling billing, and our sales team is setting up their lists of clients to contact for the day.

Noon — Some of our editorial staff is either out reporting or busily typing the stories of the day. Trucks of “insert” ads arrive at our dock, and our receiving team is sorting them out by the more than 20 papers we print in our Findlay facility.

You can hear the hum of someone mowing our lawn, while, in Sandusky, another maintenance person is cleaning seagull evidence from our building.

Our advertising reps are working with our ad design center to get ads ready for tomorrow’s paper.

3 p.m. — Our editors press into action, working with reporters to craft their stories, with the goal of building a solid edition. Our page designers have showed up, laying out content for the inside pages, working their way to the final pages designed each night, the front page and the sports front. Elsewhere, the business day continues with meetings, creativity, and dealmaking.

6 p.m. — By now, many of the office staff have left for the day and our production crew has shuffled in. Walking back to our plate room, you hear a humming sound as plates spit out of a machine. Pressmen are nearby, punching and bending the plates for them to be hung on the press.

9 p.m. — The loud sound of the press can be heard almost constantly now, as our printing hits its crescendo. Each night, the press runs nearly nonstop from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., with as many as 15 runs each night. After the papers come off the press, they are stacked and moved to our insert machine, where ads are placed into each paper, with employees making sure the process runs smoothly. In our newsrooms, staff make the final changes and tweaks to their content as deadline looms. Stories are posted to our website and onto social media.

Midnight — A couple of trucks have now departed, one traveling to the Dayton area to drop off a handful of papers, and another heading north to Sandusky and Norwalk. Up next is the van that takes papers to Tiffin and Fostoria. The night crew works to keep it all straight, bundling, strapping, and packing the various papers.

3 a.m. — The last of the local carriers just left The Courier. People are out all over Ohio, delivering to homes, stores, and post offices papers that originated in Findlay. Our night crew turns off the lights. Their shift is over. But the various people delivering our paper — carriers, bundle haulers, postal carriers, or store owners, continue to press on through the early hours.

6 a.m. — Our e-edition is now loaded and people everywhere are starting to read their paper. Our buildings sit quiet, but not for long. Recycled material sits at the ready for our first maintenance guy, who pulls into the parking lot ready to start another day in the world of newspapering.

Alpena native Jeremy Speer is the publisher of The Courier in Findlay, Ohio, the Sandusky (Ohio) Register, The Advertiser-Tribune in Tiffin, Ohio, the Norwalk (Ohio) Reflector, and Review Times in Fostoria, Ohio. He can be reached at [email protected].

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I am 70 years old and have been politically interested most of my life. I was 8 years old when President John F. ...

Crime is often an act of desperation.When people struggle with the basics of life, like buying clothes to look ...

MyMichigan Medical Center Alpena recently received high marks from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid ...

“If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?” — book title by Erma Bombeck“Alexa, pit ...

There is no question that access to a quality education helps students achieve their full potential, build a ...

I'm interested in (please check all that apply) Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *