It’s a new newspaper, printed in the grand old tradition

Producing a daily newspaper is a labor of love, and some days there is more to love than others.

Today, we’re loving what we do even more than most days.

March 3, 2010, is special to the hundreds of people who work every day to assemble the words and images and advertisements that make The Vindicator what it is.

Nearly 50 years ago, Marshall McLuhan coined a phrase, the medium is the message, which has been interpreted, reinterpreted and misinterpreted over the years. So we’re not going to feel too guilty about putting our own spin on it today. The manner in which we present news and features to our readers is important. Design and presentation have a lot to do with whether any message gets through to the reader. And certainly the message of a photograph is directly tied to the quality of its reproduction.

Over the years, the standards for presentation in our medium have changed. A hundred and fifty years ago, people were happy to read newspapers with no photographs and few hand-drawn illustrations. The development of halftones, the use of dots to convey tones of gray on a printed page, sparked a revolution for newspapers and their readers. Later came four-color reproduction, improved printing presses and the computerization that culminated in the product you’re holding in your hands.

Today’s Vindicator combines a new design with new technology in a way that makes what all of us at the paper do easier on the eye and more exciting to the senses.

There is not time or space to describe all of the nuts and bolts that went into building the new press on which this paper was produced or to enumerate the typefaces and graphical devices that consume the waking hours (and sometimes the dreams) of a newspaper designer.

A new, faster pace

Suffice it to say that we’re confident that the machinery is in place to provide Vindicator readers with a newspaper that will inform and entertain and will continue to accept its responsibility to help make the Mahoning Valley a better place in which to live. We were doing that 120 years ago, when The Vindicator was a four-page sheet that was printed two pages at a time. A double sheet would be fed into the press, then turned over and fed back through to print the other two pages. And we’re doing it today — but in full color and at speeds of up to 70,000 copies an hour.

And we’re confident that we will be doing it for a long time to come. That was the attitude of Publisher William J. Brown, who built the building in which these words were written and in which the press that printed them rumbled to life a few hours ago. One of the decisions he made in 1968 was to include a second press bay in the new production building and that decision made it possible to install our new presses while the one that went into operation Dec. 18, 1972, continued to print right up through yesterday. Mr. Brown, who died Aug. 14, 1981, knew he was building a plant not for a generation or two, but for a community that will outlive any of us.

We have spoken of the machinery that is involved in producing The Vindicator. But that machinery is far more than nuts and bolts, computer keyboards and video screens. It is a human machine of which the parts are reporters and editors, designers and photographers, advertising sales people and ad builders, men and women who work in the pressroom and mailroom, getting the finished product into the hands of the circulation department and the individual carriers. It is business administrators, accountants and clerks, and maintenance workers who keep the building warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and information system technologists who maintain the computers on which all of us constantly rely.

All the parts of that machine have come together to produce the new newspaper in town, without forgetting our history and with an eye to the future.

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