NewsSuite from alfaMedia, NewsXpress from alfaQuest

By: Jim Rosenberg

AlfaQuest Technologies of Rolling Meadows, Ill., has introduced its latest platesetter, is installing its integrated publishing system at its first U.S. customer, and has appointed a support manager for the publishing system.

Designed as a low-cost CTP solution for newspapers, with a five-year laser warranty, NewsXpress images up to 100 violet-sensitive plates per hour with 1-mil repeatability at seven resolutions ranging from 1016 to 2540 dpi.

The companion NewsMate automatic plate loader with slipsheet removal can be installed with the NewsXpress, addd to it later, or moved from one NewsXpress to another.

Developed by alfaQuest’s German affiliate, alfa Media partner GmbH, the OpenMedia editorial solution has been sold to Journal Register Co., which will roll out NewsSuite Enterprise to its 27 dailies and numerous Web sites.

Introduced last spring, the XML-based cross-media publishing system offers browser-based OpenMedia content-management administrative and production components, NewsSuite software for writers, editors, and photographers, page make-up, archiving, online transfer and presentation, production planning and tracking, and integration with alfa’s advertising and production systems.

For its alfa Media Solutions products in North America, alfaQuest Technologies appointed Arnd Schimanski as production support manager. Schimanski’s 17-plus years in the newspaper front-end systems business includes 10 years with CCI Europe and expertise in planning, managing and implementing content-management and multimedia-publishing systems.

Late last year, the Daily Local News of West Chester, Pa., became the first Journal Register site to use NewsSuite. Also in suburban Philadelphia, The Reporter, in Lansdale, is next to go live with NewsSuite, along with The Morning Sun of Mt. Pleasant, Mich. In all, another 11 sites are to be up and running by the end of 2007, according to alfaQuest.

JRC is implementing its OpenMedia solution from a single backed-up server site running a large Oracle database, in Yardley, Pa., with Citrix thin-client newsroom connections. Frank O’Hearn, alfaQuest systems technology director, said West Chester experienced a relatively quick start-up, taking only six weeks from the start of installation to live use. Because they will consist mainly of user training, he added, remaining start-ups should be very short.

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