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MAN Roland and Gannett bring the first Berliner format to North America at the Journal & Courier

Monday, August 07, 2006

Press release from the issuing company

A new era in newspaper production has been launched in Lafayette, Indiana, where Gannett’s Journal & Courier has become the first North American newspaper to utilize the reader-friendly Berliner format, switching from a traditional broadsheet size. The transformation was powered by an MAN Roland GEOMAN press, which is the centerpiece of the paper’s new $24.1 million production facility. Developed in Germany, Berliner is designed to combine the best benefits of broadsheet and tabloid sizes. It sectionalizes content so readers can access their favorites quickly, while providing an easy-to-handle 12” by 18” size. “With this first in the U.S. publishing industry, Gannett again is demonstrating our commitment to innovation and to pleasing our customers,” says Craig A. Dubow, chairman, president and CEO of Gannett. “Readers and advertisers love this new, handy size and ability to provide color.” The reformatting at the Journal & Courier was accompanied by a significant increase in color content. The paper can now provide advertisers and readers full color on all 48 of its pages. The additional color also comes courtesy of the MAN Roland GEOMAN. It’s at the heart of a new 47,000 sq ft printing plant, which began producing the paper on July 31st. Configured with three eight-couple towers and four reel stands, the GEOMAN is floor mounted and equipped with a 2:3:3 double jaw folder from MAN Roland. An integrated cylinder stitcher and quarter folder equip the press to produce a variety of commercial products. “Importantly, this new press facility also proves our abiding belief in the value and significance of newspapers,” Dubow says. “This launch is a win for everyone involved – our customers, the community and the future of our industry.” Journal & Courier President and Publisher Gary Suisman says that his readers are celebrating their part of the victory. “Reader response so far has been overwhelmingly positive,” he reports. “They like the more convenient and portable compact size, and they love the improved readability and crisp color reproduction.” Advertisers are also expressing their enthusiasm over the new size and the extra color capacity GEOMAN provides. “Our first day in the new format was a success; we had many times the normal advertising lineage,” Suisman says. “We will see how that plays out over time. As we showed the prototype newspapers to advertisers, they did love the impact of the color ads.” Of course, the Journal & Courier didn’t just drop the new size as a surprise on its customers and advertisers. “We ran continuous promotions in our newspaper and sent direct mail pieces to readers and non-readers explaining upcoming changes,” Suisman notes. “We also ran radio and billboards in advance of the launch and TV as of launch day.” The newspaper also printed a reader’s guide one week before launch day on its new GEOMAN and distributed it in one of its last broadsheet editions to its 36,155 circulation. It explained the coming changes, provided some newspaper history and provided a graphic tour of the GEOMAN. Doing the groundwork is paying dividends for the paper. A typical reader response came from Lafayette resident Andrew Antonio, who told a Journal & Courier reporter: “I definitely like the smaller size, if you try to sit and read other papers — if there's any wind at all it's constantly folding on you. And I love the colors." To keep all its readers are in loop, the Journal & Courier is sponsoring a series of celebrations and marketing events. The post-launch campaign included a special commemorative edition of the first Berliner format paper in North America, which can be ordered at www.jconline.com. Gary Suisman describes some of the other activities: “We had a community lunch downtown on opening day with a local restaurant and will have free admission to a local water park next week. We also have a contest that will give away $37,000 in prizes including a new car and a $5,000 diamond pendant.” As the world’s leading newspaper press manufacturer and innovator, MAN Roland is equipped to offer any newspaper the systems it requires to take advantage of new formats and extra color capacity. “Introduction of the first Berliner format in North America by Gannett and the Journal & Courier is a great example of how to make a newspaper more appealing, and more connected to its readers and advertisers, which results in even greater success for the newspaper,” says Vincent Lapinski, COO of Web Operations at MAN Roland Inc. “We’re proud to be a part of this history-making event.”




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