The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle Soars With a $14 Million Expansion and a New MAN Roland Uniset 75
CHEYENNE, WY—March 1, 2007—“This is a substantial commitment on the part of our company that will allow us to provide a higher quality product to our advertisers, commercial printing customers and our readers, all with less waste and greater efficiency.”
That’s the word from L. Michael McCraken, President and Publisher of the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (WTE), in announcing a $14 million expansion of his company’s headquarters and production center in Cheyenne. The upgrade is scheduled around the installation next winter of a new UNISET 75 press from MAN Roland.
“As our market has grown, so have the needs of our customers,” McCraken says. “The purchase of a new printing press is a very large expenditure, but the owners of the newspaper recognize the importance of keeping our production facilities up to date and competitive.”
With circulation of about 16,500 daily and 18,500 Sunday, the family-owned Tribune-Eagle is Wyoming’s second-largest daily newspaper and its largest locally owned newspaper. While its main audience resides in Cheyenne’s Laramie County, the paper also is distributed throughout southeast Wyoming, and into western Nebraska. The Tribune-Eagle also publishes the 6,000+ circulation Laramie Daily Boomerang and operates a booming commercial printing operation.
Ron Sams, Vice President of Newspaper Sales at MAN Roland Inc., says the new press will improve all aspects of WTE’s business: “It’s a privilege and a pleasure to be working with newspaper professionals who not only can identify opportunities to grow, but have the knowledge and experience to capitalize on positive trends in their marketplace.”
A Colorful Change
Advertiser demand for more and improved color was one of the main reasons behind WTE’s purchase of the new UNISET, which is scheduled to arrive in January and be commissioned by the summer of 2008.
“Currently we run out of color capacity on Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the year,” says Scott Walker, Vice President of Marketing and Operations. “Each year this trend starts earlier in the season. With the UNISET press, we not only increase our capacity to put full color on every page, but with the improved technology, the reproduction, brightness and clarity will make photos, advertising and design features jump off the page.”
WTE’s current press is a vintage Goss that can print only eight of its 32 broadsheet pages in full color. “Our paper usually is 20-36 pages and we typically run 35 pages of full color per week, most all of which are full pages,” Walker reports.
With 24 printing couples arranged in three 4-high towers, the three-pages-across, two-around UNISET will be able to print a 36-page paper with color on all pages. The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle will be making the most of the better and brighter appearance with a layout redesign, but one that is evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
“We probably won’t do a complete redesign right away, but will evolve into a stronger design, taking advantage of more editorial color and key advertising positions,” Walker notes. “We will make improvements with more color in mind. Our front page will see the most change.”
Room to Grow
Before the new UNISET can arrive, it needs a place to work. “We’re adding 16,000 sq ft to the production area,” say Jim Thompson, WTE’s Production Director. “That includes a new press hall and we’ll be upgrading our inserting and distribution center as well.”
The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle made a conscious effort to remain in downtown Cheyenne to continue its role as a focal point of the community it serves. The paper commissioned Forum Architects, the Cleveland-based firm known for its dramatic work in designing newspaper facilities, to make its expanded headquarters and production facility as attractive as it is functional.
MAN Roland is committed to equipping the Tribune-Eagle with the most advanced newspaper press in the region north of Denver. With a top run rate of 75,000 copies per hour, UNISET more than doubles the paper’s current production rate. And its PECOM control and automation system will accelerate makereadies so the paper can be more responsive to its readers and advertisers.
“We expect to see savings in waste reduction — both start-up and run waste — thanks to UNISET’s automated features,” Thompson observes. “PECOM, automated splicers and other automation on the press will give us time savings too.“
There were a number of non-technical reasons why The Tribune-Eagle selected MAN Roland as its press provider, according to Thompson: “Their training program was an important factor for us, as was their reputation on their installs. MAN Roland has an installation that’s being completed now at the Denver Newspaper Agency that’s just to the south of us. So we’ve had a lot of opportunities to talk to people down there. We’ve gotten nothing but positive responses back.”
Thompson also traveled to Bismarck, North Dakota, where last year the Bismarck Tribune became the first North American newspaper to print with a 3/2 UNISET 75. “That visit gave me a lot of ideas for configuring the press, and it gave me some information as to what decisions surrounding the press were important to be considered in our planning.”
UNISET’s ability to print three broadsheet pages across and two pages around also fit well into the Tribune-Eagle’s plans. “That arrangement provides additional page capacity on our daily paper,” Thompson says. “It allows us essentially to purchase one less tower right now, and get the same printing capability. We can spend the money saved on our mailroom and update a lot of other areas where we have bigger bottlenecks.”
Will the Tribune-Eagle follow the growing trend toward downsizing the format of the paper once the new press starts producing? “That is an editorial decision that they haven’t announced yet,” Thompson replies. “We’ve ordered the press to handle a narrower 48-inch web to give us the option for a smaller format paper if that decision is made.”
No decision needs to be made on UNISET’s ability to increase commercial printing opportunities at WTE. “We produce weekly shoppers for various areas now,” Thompson explains. “We do a lot of printing of course books and other material for the local community college. The UNISET will let us handle that work and to expand into new business with the additional productivity we can get from the press. Also, the added color and the higher print quality UNISET provides will let us branch out into projects we can’t tackle now.”
WTE’s Scott Walker notes that the marketing gears are already in motion. “We have already made some contacts with some web customers who we know need more color capacity,” he says. “As we get closer, we will pick up speed. The advantage we will have is new technology, with more capacity that will give the customer a better product while controlling prices.”
The Tribune-Eagle is also working to involve the community in its expansion. In early February, the paper ran a detailed story announcing its new press acquisition and WTE’s construction plans.
“Although the start-up of the new press is a ways off, we plan on a number of events,” Walker states, “including the possibility of some local walks for charity that will add up to the number of miles from Cheyenne to the MAN Roland plant in Germany.”
While details have yet to be finalized on WTE’s expansion celebration, it is clear that the family values that inspired the paper’s growth will continue to drive its winning ways.
“A family-owned newspaper can move and adjust much faster,” says Walker, who has worked for some of the biggest names in the industry. “That allows us to control our own decisions, meet the needs of our advertisers and readers, and hopefully put out a product that reflects our community.”
About MAN Roland
MAN Roland Druckmaschinen AG is the world’s second largest printing systems manufacturer and the world’s market leader in web offset. MAN Roland operates out of Offenbach, Augsburg and Plauen in Germany. It employs 9,000 staff and generates annual sales of $2.14 billion (EUR 1.7 billion), with an export share of 83%. Web and sheetfed offset are its major product lines for publishing, general commercial and packaging printing. MAN Roland is the only printing press manufacturer to be a partner of the WAN (World Association of Newspapers). In North America, MAN Roland Inc. operates a network of five regional sales and service facilities, staffed by over 250 employees.