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Lafayette Journal and Courier selects MAN Roland for the first Berliner model GEOMAN in North America

Press release from the issuing company

Lafayette, Indiana — The Journal and Courier has selected a Berliner model GEOMAN press from MAN Roland to power a $23 million production facility that the newspaper is constructing on a site southeast of the city. The Gannett publication will become the first in North America to run the new cut-off configuration of the 4X2 GEOMAN, when the press begins production in late summer of 2006. “The Berliner format delivers a cut-off of 18 1/2 inches,” explained Ron Sams, sales manager for Newspaper Web Operations in the Midwest for MAN Roland, Inc. “The press will be the first in North America equipped with this new cut-off and has a web width of 48 inches.” Publishing since 1829, the Journal and Courier is Indiana’s second oldest newspaper. It is currently produced on a 1960 Goss Headliner Mark. “This is the end of an era and the beginning of a new one,” said Gary Suisman, president and publisher of the Journal and Courier. “With our community growing in sophistication and increasingly higher expectations for the newspaper, the timing for the new press is right.” Configured with three eight-couple towers, the GEOMAN will be floor mounted and equipped with a cylinder stitcher and quarter folder to produce a variety of commercial products. “Currently, our letterpress operation has not provided the quality to attract commercial printing clients,” said Journal and Courier Operations Director Travis Komidar. “We expect that to change with the new press.” The new GEOMAN will produce state-of-the-art reproduction quality for the newspaper, which has a circulation of 37,000 on weekdays and 43,000 on Sundays. The Journal and Courier will go from offering limited color placement opportunities to providing full color throughout its 48 broadsheet pages. “We are excited about the opportunities to grow color advertising, from our current limited capacity,” said Suisman. “We feel there are opportunities with all advertisers — large, small, retail and classified.” But more and better color weren’t the only criteria upon which the Journal and Courier based its quest for a new press. The company had a long roster of “must haves” used in evaluating the newspaper press manufacturers it considered. According to Komidar, the list included: “Installed base and successes of similar press equipment/installations; ability to provide the press and auxiliary equipment to meet our specifications; service, support, and training resources; competitive pricing and warranty; demonstrated print quality, and economy of operation of similar installed equipment.” As a member of the Gannett group of publications, the newspaper also received technological support from its Newspaper Division executives. “They helped us in the research and evaluation process,” Komidar said. “Gannett has been investing in a number of new presses in the last few years. We were able to learn from them about the various product offerings and product support differences.” “We’ve been watching the evolution of the Berliner in Europe and other parts of the world,” said Mark S. Mikolajczyk, senior vice president/operations at Gannett. “This format has several advantages. Readers love it because of the smaller size while maintaining discrete sections. And, of course, it allows us to limit our newsprint expense.” Komidar said the Journal and Courier management had additional criteria in selecting the 4X2 format. It wanted the ability to print in both the straight and collect modes to enhance product versatility. Space considerations were also a factor, since the newspaper wants to keep the size of the new production center within reason. Reliability also came into play in the decision to go with a 4X2 press. Since the double-wide GEOMAN prints more pages with each rotation of its cylinder with fewer webs, fewer mechanical components are required to achieve similar yields. The press will be fed by four digitally controlled reel stands and includes an integrated 2:3:3 double jaw folder from MAN Roland. The Journal and Courier’s motto is: “We get you going,” and the promise of a new GEOMAN has done just that for the paper’s 200 employees. “Our staff is very excited,” Suisman said. “Many of them have worked here for a number of years and have been waiting to begin printing on offset.” “MAN Roland is delighted to partner with Gannett to bring the Berliner format to the North American market,” noted Vince Lapinski, MAN Roland’s COO of Web Operations. “We see a bright future for it here because the slimmer Berliner size helps newspapers trim materials costs, while producing a product that readers find more convenient to explore. I’m certain that this successful introduction will convince other papers to consider a GEOMAN Berliner.”