The astute student of media is aware that great change is sweeping through the daily newspaper industry. Publicly traded big chains are under intense shareholder pressure as their stock prices decline. Some of them been been sold, some are contemplating doing so. All newspapers are looking to save money, rushing to various stratagems such as dropping stock quotes from the paper or altering their size to save on paper costs. When the big boys all rush in the same direction, some little guys get caught in the draft. Such is our fate.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel introduced a new design this week. It features a slimmer image area, preparing the way for the narrower paper that will result when MJS begins printing on a 48" roll of paper over the next few weeks, rather than the 50" rolls that it currently uses. Since we are printed by the Journal Company on the very same presses, when they change, we change too.
This is happening at a number of newspapers. The Wall Street Journal changed its size last week. The New York Times will this spring. We'll be doing it over the next few weeks. We will not be getting slimmer though. Since a tabloid (like Isthmus) is configured differently on the press than a broadsheet (like those other guys), our paper will get shorter. Since the printing plate equipment has already been converted, our new image area is displayed with this issue, though it is still the same paper size, resulting in bigger margins. This will be the case for the next two weeks, and the paper will continued to be stitched (stapled.)
By issue number 7 (Feb. 16), we should be at the new paper size; however, for two weeks we will be on a different press line, which does not have stitching capability. By issue 9 the image area, the paper size and the stitching should all be what they are going to be for the foreseeable future.
During the transition weeks, we'll be producing a couple of supplements like this week's Health, Beauty & Fitness. In the event that we can't stitch them separately, they will be printed on paper stock that differs from the regular paper.
Back in the day, when the TV went haywire, up went a sign that said "Please stand by. We are experiencing technical difficulties." Well, we ask you to please stand by. Our technical difficulties will not result in your missing out on any of the good stuff Isthmus provides you. It may just get a little messy when the stitching goes away for a couple of issues.