MOUNT VERNON — Printing a newspaper six days a week is not the only job at Progressive Communications Corp., publisher of the Mount Vernon News. Printing publications for other companies and publishing a weekly advertising paper takes up time as well.
It makes no sense to have a high-quality press sitting idle most of the day, so back in the 1970s, the company started doing some commercial printing, said Assistant Publisher Elizabeth Lutwick. The company got into it in a bigger way in the 1980s.
“It’s a way to boost revenue,” Lutwick said.
Today, a lot more than just the News comes off the presses. The newspapers that come off the presses here include The Free Press, out of Columbus; the Buckeye Lake Beacon; the Utica Herald; the Johnstown Journal; the Heath News; the Fairfield and Eastern Town Crier papers out of Hebron; and several school newspapers, including the Kenyon Collegian, the Lakeholm Viewer and the papers at Centerburg, Danville and Fredericktown high schools.
“We added two new units to the press this spring, so now we can do more color — people want color,” Lutwick said.
With the press additions, the press can now produce sections as large as 80 tab-sized pages (although not all 80 can have color) or 40 broad sheet pages.
The News can now also print color advertising inserts, and has done so for Neff’s Cardinal Market.
“Having a Commercial Printing Division enables us to employ more people,” Lutwick said.
Shopper’s Mart and MIDS Bag
The Shopper’s Mart has been published since the early 1980s, said Advertising Manager Corby Wise. It goes out every week to every home in Knox County and into some surrounding areas, such as Bellville, Butler, Loudonville, Sparta, Utica and Chesterville.
“We distribute 20,015 copies in the county and 8,510 out of the county,” Wise said. The publication is dedicated to classified and display advertising is delivered to every home in the area unless a resident requests it not be delivered.
At the latest, it is supposed to be delivered by noon each Sunday.
The package of classified and retail advertising has proven popular over the years, and Wise said advertisers can get an even better bargain by “bundling” their ads — running them in both the News and the Shopper’s Mart.
The publication is delivered each week in the yellow “MIDS” bag, which stands for Marketing Information Distribution System. The Shopper is packaged with preprinted advertising from department store and supermarket chains, as well as other major retailers.
These inserts can even be “zoned,” Wise said, so they only get to potential customers in a specific area.
For example, a store in Mansfield might want to target potential customers in the Bellville-Butler-Loudonville area, but realizes that residents in the Utica-Martinsburg area might not consider driving there when Newark and Columbus are easier to get to.
An often unseen part of the newspaper operation is the Design Department. Graphic Design Supervisor Marsha Maxey explained that they work with the sales person and the advertiser to design the ads they request.
They also do the “dummies” for the newsroom, determining the size of each day’s paper based on the number of ads sold, they process all photographs to make sure color tones are accurate and the pictures are ready for the printing process.
They perform the same job for the Shopper’s Mart and also design the covers for special sections. They also designs ads for The Shopper’s Mart and send the finished pages to the equipment that makes the plates for the press.
If there is special art, or maybe a chart, is needed for a feature or column, we’ll go to the design department and see what they can do.
They are a critical and valuable part of the production process.
National Newspaper Week is being observed this week. This year marks the 73rd year of this observance which stresses the importance of newspapers to communities, large and small.
Local newspapers connect the community to the people, places and events that surround them. For students in Knox County, the Mount Vernon News is used as a learning tool.
A 275-page paperback novel has about the same number of words as an average daily newspaper. A novel will take months to edit and refine. A daily newspaper staff will produce a new product every 24 hours.
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