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Six MAN Roland GEOMAN Presses to Drive Expansion at Detroit Newspapers

Press release from the issuing company

Westmont, Illinois --July 17, 2002 -- Detroit Newspapers, the joint venture that handles production of The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press, has contracted with MAN Roland Inc. for six new GEOMAN presses. The web offset systems will be the centerpiece of a $170 million expansion of Detroit Newspaper’s North Plant printing facility in Sterling Heights, Michigan. At total of 190,000 sq ft will be added to the plant, which currently handles most production tasks for the two papers and will take over full production once the GEOMAN presses are up and running. Scheduled to be completed in three years, the expansion will include additional newsprint/preprint storage, a new material handling system, and updates to the plant’s packaging/inserting operations, in addition to installation of the six MAN Roland presses. The 16-page GEOMAN has built a reputation for its ability to improve the print quality of newspapers while allowing them to publish more full-color pages to increase the impact of both their editorial and advertising. "We are very excited about the product improvements and enhanced capabilities this will allow us to offer to readers and advertisers," said Frank Vegas, President and CEO of Detroit Newspapers. "This investment demonstrates our determination to anticipate and exceed customer expectations and it shows the commitment of our parent companies, Gannett and Knight Ridder, to the southeastern Michigan market." The Detroit News is owned by Gannett Co. Inc., while Knight Ridder, Inc. owns the Detroit Free Press. The newspapers publish separate editions Monday to Friday and a combined edition on Saturday and Sunday. Detroit Newspapers serves as the business agent for both papers. "It is an honor to be simultaneously selected by two major newspapers as their main technology provider," said Vince Lapinski, Senior Vice President of Web Operations at MAN Roland Inc. "When entities like Gannett and Knight Ridder ask you to be their production partner, it indicates that your products are what the marketplace requires and your services are meeting the needs of the top players in the industry." Detroit Newspapers released an extensive list of improvements that it is anticipating upon the arrival of the GEOMAN systems. The gains include: - More than doubling the number of color pages both newspapers carry. - Publication upgrades, "including dramatically improved printing quality and better formatting and sectioning of the newspapers." - "Earlier delivery of newspapers to homes and newsstands," thanks to the fast makeready capabilities and 75,000 copies/hour run rate of the GEOMAN presses. - The ability to target "specific geographic areas," to enable advertisers to reach specific audiences with customized messages. - Environmental benefits, including "reduced newsprint waste." The six MAN Roland GEOMAN presses will encompass 300 printing couples, 60 reels and six folders. They will be equipped with AC shaftless direct drives, and MAN Roland’s PECOM system for automation and printing plant management. Both advancements speed makeready and enable quick changeovers from edition-to-edition, section-to-section and even page-to-page. "This is a good investment for the newspapers and for the community," said Heath Merriwether, Publisher of the Free Press. "The press project will substantially improve what we can do for our readers and customers." Those observations were echoed by Mark Silverman, Editor and Publisher of The Detroit News: "It means that we will be able to keep up with the changing needs of our present readers and meet the needs of new readers in the future. We will have new flexibility and new options for giving readers the best and most up-to-date newspaper possible. A new press facility will enhance our ability to provide important public service coverage and information people need in a format that’s easy to use and engaging to read."