Upgrade to Gannett Michigan Press

By: Jim Rosenberg Gannett's Livingston County Daily Press & Argus in Howell, Mich., has invested in automatic register controls from CC1 Inc., Portsmouth, N.H., to reduce waste, save costs and improve print quality on its press.

The new technology enables better color printing and may cut waste by as much as 75%, according to Plant Manager Mark Steward told reporter John Gunnells in today's Daily Press & Argus. Until now, the paper generated approximately seven truckloads of scrap paper each year, at a cost of about $18,000 per load.

The $140,000 system is part of a two-phase, $450,000 plant upgrade. Earlier this year, Gannett installed a $310,000 Graphic Microsystems Inc. color-control system for the Goss Community press, Steward told E&P.

According to Steward, time saved with the new equipment allows the plant to produce more commercial projects. Besides the daily, the plant prints a countywide shopper, weekly sections of the daily for distribution elsewhere in the community, several community weeklies, and a farming publication distributed in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

"The investment says a lot about the future of our daily newspaper in Livingston County," the paper quotes Executive Editor and General Manager Rich Perlberg saying. "We're doing a lot on the Web, but an essential part of our plan is to have a healthy and growing newspaper."

The Daily Press & Argus has been something of an exception in the newspaper industry in recent years. Almost five years ago, Gannett acquired the paper with its parent company, HomeTown Communications, which outside of Livingston County published only weekly and biweekly papers in Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky, as well as 24 telephone directories.

About halfway between Detroit and Lansing, the Daily Press & Argus combined two HomeTown Communications semiweeklies nine years ago to become Michigan's first new daily since The Huron Tribune went daily in 1955. At the time the Daily Press & Argus launched, Livingston County had 150,000 residents and was expected to grow by 70,000 over 20 years, according to population estimates cited by HomeTown.

Though it had its share of layoffs this year, the Daily Press & Argus was not among Gannett titles that cut jobs in 2008.


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