If you’ve gotten this far into the paper no doubt you’ve realized that more has changed than just the front page. In last week’s issue we inserted a special section explaining some of the changes we were about to undergo. For those who missed that section, the biggest reason that brought about the change in the paper was moving to a new printing plant.
The Deerfield Valley News is now being printed at the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, MA. The Gazette recently completed a $14 million upgrade of its printing facilities, including a new press and lots of state-of-the-art equipment alongside the printing units. With the change, we can offer readers and advertisers more color, better image reproduction, and a host of options not available before.
We’re pretty excited about those changes. But, before we go any further, let’s answer that nagging question. The blank space on page one is to allow for the mailing address of subscribers to be imprinted on the page.
If you are a subscriber, then of course you don’t have a blank space on page one, your name is there. But for those who buy their paper from a local merchant, or pick up one to read at a local lunch counter, that space is there so the inkjet labeling machine can grab the paper and place the mailing address in the proper location for the post office mail scanners. It may seem odd to leave a hole above the fold on page one of a newspaper. It is. Blame progress, technology, and the post office.
But overall, we felt the opportunities afforded the paper with the move to the new printing plant were extensive. The bigger page will allow us to use more photographs, and more color as well. We hope readers will notice. The size of the type in stories has been increased. While only a slight increase, we felt this would greatly enhance the reader’s experience.
We are also able to offer more options to advertisers, especially the opportunity for more color and the chance for front page ads in our second section. That was something we couldn’t do with our old format.
It’s been a crazy month, leading up to this week’s edition of the Deerfield Valley News. We had lots of decisions to make, first about whether to change printers at all. Moving to a new printing company was not an easy decision. The Pennysaver Press in Bennington had printed The Deerfield Valley News for the better part of the past 25 years. We had many strong relationships with the Pennysaver and its parent company, Trumbull Printing. But in the end, we made the choice to switch.
Once the decision was made to move to the new plant, there was a boatload of things to take care of. Pages had to be reformatted. Advertisements had to be resized and redone. Distribution routes had to be shuffled. And those were just the easy things. As is often the case, there is never enough time to finish everything we’d like to do. We have some more changes in mind that you’ll see down the road, as we get more comfortable with our new format.
Consider this an evolutionary process. What you are reading now is not a finished product. There are still some tweaks in the future. What we hope is readers will tell us what they think about the new format, good and bad, and we’ll incorporate some of that feedback into our evolving newspaper.
Ultimately, these changes have come about for you, our readers and advertisers. We want to deliver the best products we can. This is another step in that process.