Your Paper Enters a New Era
Several months ago, we set out to build this community a better newspaper. We wanted to deliver to you a more colorful and vibrant product - and one that didn't leave any ink on your fingers.
In your hands you are holding the product of all that planning.
This edition has twice the number of pages offering color potential (doubled from eight to 16 pages). It allows us to eliminate the annoying ink rub-off that readers of The Pilot have complained about for decades. As part of the change, we are also converting to a more compact page format that has become the industry standard.
Changes are always stressful, and this one was particularly so. To enhance even further the quality of what many already consider the best community newspaper in America, we arrived at the difficult decision to have the newspaper printed elsewhere. In keeping with another industry trend, The Pilot will no longer be coming off the press in our downtown Southern Pines offices. Instead, we have contracted with The News & Observer to produce the paper for us in its state-of-the-art Raleigh facility.
While we are excited to deliver a better newspaper, we are doing it with a heavy heart. Shutting down our printing operation here has required us to say goodbye to four full-time staffers who operated our press. Also affected are 12 part-time colleagues who collated the various sections of the paper.
As in virtually every business, the economics of the newspaper industry have changed greatly over the last couple of years. In this current environment, newspapers will have to become either purchasers of printing or purveyors of it. Because of the capital investment necessary, most small and medium-sized papers have chosen the former.
Newspapers in all the counties surrounding Moore have already taken the step of consolidating their production operations with those of larger newspapers. Even The Wilmington Star-News, a metro daily, has outsourced its printing to The Fayetteville Observer.
The Raleigh press that will now be printing The Pilot stands four stories tall and stretches longer than a football field. All of that iron affords us the capacity to offer you a much more colorful paper, creating a more inviting reading experience.
This press also utilizes a different kind of printing technology from that utilized by our offset press, which required an oil-based ink. Flexography, the process employed in Raleigh, uses a water-based ink, which dries instantly and doesn't rub off on your hands, clothing or furniture. (Try it with the new, cleaner paper you're now reading.) It is also a better choice for the environment.
Our staff will continue to produce news, photos and advertising matter and place them on pages, which will be electronically transmitted to Raleigh. The finished papers will then be trucked to Southern Pines and delivered by our crews. Neither delivery times nor routine news deadlines will change significantly.
Do we have mixed feelings about this milestone transition? Yes. But we are also pleased that it allows us to do an even better job of serving this wonderful community that we so proudly call home.
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