News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 5, 2011

MAX JONES: More changes and challenges, but we’re getting there

Max Jones
The Tribune-Star

---- — As a newspaper lands on your porch each day, or you grab it from a local vendor, the complex manufacturing process that goes into producing it is probably the furthest thing from your mind. But the making of a daily newspaper truly is an amazing thing.

We’ve been thinking a lot about that lately at the Tribune-Star as we’ve worked feverishly to create new processes that allow us to take on a more significant role within CNHI, our parent company, as a printing hub.

Our production plant on Margaret Avenue near Indiana 46 has been running on steroids the last two months. It’s always been a busy place, but recent developments have made it even more so.

In addition to publishing the Tribune-Star each day, our production staff is now responsible for printing two other daily CNHI newspapers — the Washington Times-Herald and the Danville, Ill., Commercial-News. That’s on top of other print jobs we do — the Indiana Statesman (ISU’s student newspaper) three times a week, the Hendricks County Flyer twice a week, the Westside (Indy) Flyer once a week, and the Jasonville Independent once a week. We’ve also just begun printing the St. Mary-of-the-Woods College student publication.

It’s good to be busy, even though it has its challenges. Printing Danville and Washington has been particularly bruising on our system. It has, at times, stressed resources and forced us to alter processes and adjust our production approach.

It remains a work in progress. But we’re getting there.

The work being done by our production teams has been phenomenal. They keep pushing to hone processes so that all of our customers get their papers on time.

As some of the Tribune-Star’s customers know, we’ve had a few problems along the way. As a result, delivery of newspapers has been late at times. Meanwhile, our paper carriers are doing everything they can to keep you satisfied while we resolve issues.

These pressures have also required us to make some changes to the T-S format and sectioning. It’s an evolution, but we think we’re getting real close to having it all worked out.

Some of the changes we’ve had to make to accommodate increasing production demands will become evident this week as we move some feature sections and content to different days of the week.

Here’s what to expect:

• When Wednesday’s newspaper arrives this week, it will no longer contain the School Zone section, which is being moved to Thursday.

• When Thursday’s newspaper arrives, it will be in four sections. The first three sections will be news, School Zone and Sports. The fourth section will be ’Bash (our entertainment and activity section), which formerly published on Friday.

I understand that changes such as these can sometimes irritate and upset loyal readers. I assure you we don’t want that, and apologize in advance for any inconvenience. We would not do it if it wasn’t important for production processes, our employees and the long-term interests of this newspaper.

Being a printing hub for our parent company is a big deal for the Tribune-Star and Terre Haute. It boosts our business and stabilizes our workforce. We see this as an opportunity to make this company stronger and your newspaper better. As we resolve our service issues, we hope you will see it the same way.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Max Jones can be reached at (812) 231-4336, or by email at Follow him on Twitter: @TribStarMax.