Outsourcing Printing Puts Jobs at Risk
They transfer the newspaper's pages to large printing sheets, manually adjust ink levels, and eyeball each alignment. When it works, the press can print about 20,000 newspapers per hour, but the pressmen know that's not guaranteed.
"The quality on this press is probably not as [good] as the quality of the newer presses," Sargent admitted.
The Missourian's afternoon competitor, the Columbia Daily Tribune, upgraded its press in 2002. Now, the Tribune can print up to 45,000 papers an hour with fewer bad copies, saving the company money it spends on newsprint.
"The advantages of that new technology manifest in better efficiencies as you produce that product and better quality," the Tribune's Jack Walters explained.
Now, the Missourian also hopes to increase quality and decrease costs. However, its ancient press can't provide that, so Sargent and his co-workers could lose their jobs this year.
"This job means a lot to Tony. He's been here his entire working life," said fellow pressman Bruce Moore. "It's going to be hard on him to give it up and work somewhere else. It's not something he wants to stop doing."
A modern press may print a newspaper that looks better, but Sargent said he can't imagine waking up to a newspaper he didn't put to bed himself.
Missourian General Manager Dan Potter said the newspaper has delayed the deadline for deciding what to do about printing the paper.