Massive printing presses that for 40 years produced the Rutland Herald newspaper are being dismantled.
A new distribution center is planned for the basement of the Herald building where the six-unit Urbanite press has operated since 1967.
The Herald now is published at the Barre plant of its sister newspaper, The Barre Montpelier Times Argus, which also is owned by publisher R. John Mitchell.
The presses still work. They’re being sent to three other publishers.
“I’d say it ran really well, but the folder’s probably not in the best of shape,” said Joseph Alberico, who worked in the pressroom for 14 years and was foreman when he departed in 2004. “The folder was one of the areas we always had to get help with when we tried to do fine stuff — you never got a perfect fold no matter what you did.”
It took six people to run the presses, turning out 18,000 newspapers in 90 minutes or less, Alberico said.
Herald General Manager Robert Miller said five press units were sold to Lee Enterprises. Two are being sent to Lee’s newspaper in Auburn, N.Y., and three to Butte, Mont. The other unit is headed to the Newspaper Production and Research Center in Oklahoma City, which trains workers in operating newspaper presses.
Newspapers have been consolidating their printing for the past 15 years, Miller said.
“One of the big justifications for that is there are more demands for flexibility and color,” he said. “It’s hard for a small, standalone newspaper to afford that kind of equipment. When needs are pooled, it’s better for all concerned.”
Dan Kelly was sent to Rutland by Lee Enterprises from Iowa to supervise the transfer of presses to his company.
“Originally, newspapers were black and white with a spot of color,” he said. “Now, it’s all four-color inserts for advertising. We’re not adding page capacity, we’re adding units for color capacity.”