Commercial Opportunities for Newspapers -- Know Your Strengths
Jenkins believes it is imperative for newspaper printers to stick with their core strengths as they venture into the commercial world. "You have to clearly understand what you can and cannot do in order to survive in this business. And you have to be innovative by doing things other people aren't doing.
"It's very different from the newspaper business," he adds. "If you try to run it like the newspaper business, it generally doesn't work very well. You need to have people focused on that product, know what they can do and know what they do best."
For Gazette Communications, which publishes the Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette, an opportunity to print a local newspaper opened the doors to the commercial community. In this case, it was the Daily Iowan, the University of Iowa's daily student paper.
The Iowan, which is pressed behind the Gazette daily, provides the opportunity to work with the college publication closely, as student staffs tend to have high turnover from year to year, according to Peg Schmitz, vice president and general manager of print operations.
Now, Gazette Communications' biggest customer is King Features Syndicate. It churns out Sunday comics for 135 newspapers with about 40-plus versions, to the tune of three million impressions a week. The funny pages are distributed to locales from Montana to Atlantic City, NJ, and numerous points in between.
Catalogs Making Orders
Another large customer chunk for Gazette Communications is catalog publishers. One such product is training materials for high school and collegiate sports coaches.
In addition to working with the college staff of the Iowan, other services include mailing, shipping coordination, special labeling and trimming, and some folding. Its graphics staff is available for assistance on the front end of the workflow.
Gazette Communications employs a Goss Universal 70 shaftless press with 11 four-color towers and four in-line folders.