A day in the life – The Chicago Tribune

Sussex, WI--October 2004--Tribune Company, printer of leading daily newspaper the Chicago Tribune, is currently celebrating 157 years of high quality production and innovation as a media industry leader. Concentrating operations in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, it reaches more than 80 percent of U.S. households through its highly acclaimed newspaper publishing, television, radio broadcasting and Internet operations.

Founded in 1847, Chicago Tribune’s first press run consisted of 400 hand printed copies from a one-room plant. Today, the Chicago Tribune’s daily output of over 700,000 copies is produced on state-of-the-art equipment in modern surroundings.

Paul Lynch, Director of Quality and Commercial Printing comments, ‘Our success as a fully multi-media organization is based on superior journalism and the effectiveness of advertising, delivered to our many readers, viewers and advertisers through quality productions.’

The Chicago Tribune’s commitment to excellence has led to it printing other key U.S. titles such as the New York Times, where it is the exclusive distributor for the Chicago and Mid West regions. It has also been awarded the New York Times ‘Metro Class / Printer of the Year’ award for the last six years.

Into production

By using a small print window, between 11:45pm and 3.00am, Chicago Tribune strives to deliver the very latest news to its readers. This commitment means optimized efficiencies, both in prepress and when running.

Using over 30,000 plates in a normal week, it is essential that everything runs smoothly. In the prepress department, the plates start flowing at around 10pm, allowing much of the press to be plated in plenty of time for the 11.45pm press start. The last of the plates are usually delivered close to the start-up deadline, so fast make-readies are essential to ensure copies are printed on time.

“Register guidance is really important on cold start ups,” states Paul. “We like to hold waste to below 1,000 copies and less than 300 copies for warm starts. We hope to further reduce these numbers when converting to all digital inking. Our QuadTech® RGS V Series N gives us the ability to gain correct color registration faster. This is imperative in today’s world of rapid turnarounds and increasingly tighter deadlines, Our print window is tight in the week, but on Sunday, when we print over 1 million copies, we need all the help we can get.

The Chicago Tribune currently produces 16 pages of color out of 64 (straight run) and four color sections. Future press enhancements will enable the Tribune Company to increase its color capacity to 32 pages of color out of 80 pages, and six full color sections. This progression is just part of the Chicago Tribunes’ plan to remain at the cutting edge of newspaper production.

‘In the current U.S. market, the main trend is the need to be profitable. Our QuadTech® system means that we spend much less money on waste. Since we had the QuadTech® equipment installed in 1992, the system has more than paid for itself.

“Newspapers in the future will rely heavily on targeted marketing and there will be the possibility of producing editions exclusive to an individuals specific interests. As a company we have a vision that looks far beyond today to the trends of tomorrow. Seeing technological and demographic changes on the horizon, we put in foundations for future enhancements to our print capabilities.”

About BALDWIN | Vision Systems (formerly QuadTech)

BALDWIN’s Vision Systems division is the world’s leading innovator of advanced color and inspection technology for the printing industry. BALDWIN | Vision Systems sells its automated control systems in more than 100 countries to the packaging and converting markets, web offset newspaper and commercial markets, and publication gravure market. BALDWIN maintains a worldwide network of sales and service operations, and is privately owned by BW Forsyth Partner, the investment arm of multi-billion dollar global manufacturing and engineering consulting firm Barry-Wehmiller.


Craig Du Mez, BALDWIN | Vision Systems
Phone: +1 414 566 7500
Email: craig.dumez@quadtechworld.com

Clare Porter, Bespoke
Phone: +44 (0) 1737 215200
Email: quadtech@bespoke.co.uk