Posted by: Tony Brown | October 22, 2010

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same in the Newspaper Business

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Have you ever wondered what goes into printing a newpaper like the Albany Democrat Herald and how much technology has advanced the business of NEWS?

Technology has made it easy to report the news and publish papers and books but the process of printing hasn’t changed much. Gone are the typesetters of the past, replaced by computer word processing programs and page designers.  Each page is edited and designed so that the stories and ads fit the columns and pages and then sent to the print editor for print processing.

Typesetter lays out pages.
Photo provided by

Each page is then transferred to thin metal plates which are covered in a light sensitive  emulsion. These plates used to be made of precious metals such as silver and gold.

This is still the process used by newspapers and publishing company today like the Democrat Herald in Albany.

“We don’t use plates with silver anymore” stated John Rehley, the commercial press and pre-print supervisor at the Democrat Herald in Albany.

The plates are exposed using a laser and the put through the developing process.The images on the plate are seen as reverse images until they are printed.

The Linotype Model 3. Photo provided by

The plates are then put on the printers drum and transferred to a rubber blanket and then to the printing surface. This technique is called offset printing. According to Wikipedia, the first rotary offset lithographic printing press was created in England and patented in 1875 by Robert Barclay. This process was later developed in the 19th century to a printing press process called offset lithograph very much like the presses used in today’s publishing.

Page Editor at the Democrat Herald work to insure that the pages are ready for publication.

Page editors look over each page on their computer screens for errors and to make sure that all the articles fit the page. Mike Henneke is responsible for editing the obituaries as well as other pages for the Democrat Herald. “I make sure that each obituary is easy for family and friends to cut them out”, Henneke stated.

Printer technicians at the Democrat Herald inspect the newspaper for correct alignment.

Newspapers are stack and banded together ready for distribution.

 You would think that with the technology advances of today we could find a better way to publish books and newspapers but it goes back to the old adage of, “if it’s not broke don’t fix it”.


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