Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: We will print off-site, as would Loeb
The Union Leader, New Hampshire Sunday News, and our weekly newspapers will be printed at a different location beginning in June.
And before someone says Bill Loeb or my father would be rolling over in their graves, spare me. I think Loeb had his ashes scattered; and neither he nor B.J. McQuaid would hesitate to make the same call, given similar circumstances.
In fact, both had experience in printing elsewhere. My father had his startup Sunday News printed by the Haverhill, Mass., Gazette. And when Loeb started the Haverhill, Mass., Journal, he had it printed here in Manchester.
Today, the newspaper business is vastly different. To illustrate, I quote from a recent editor's column in the Christian Science Monitor, a former national daily newspaper that is now a weekly in print, with a strong Internet presence.
"The Monitor, like many news organizations, is navigating a challenging path to financial sustainability. (Reader) support makes possible the continuation of 105 years of journalism that helps readers understand the world's problems..."
Substitute "150" and "New Hampshire" and you have an approximation of our position. Our advertising base is much stronger than the Monitor's, but we, too, face some of the challenges that are confronting most established news media. The challenge of upgrading our 23-year-old press was one too many.
So, as I wrote earlier this year, Union Leader Corp. has made the determination to continue to concentrate on what we do and know best: the New Hampshire news and advertising information business; and we will let a commercial printer do the newspaper printing.
It turns out that our new printer, Seacoast Media Group, which owns the Portsmouth Herald, was also working on a deal with Foster's Daily Democrat, the newspaper for the Dover area. The result: SMG will lease and vastly upgrade the Dover production facility, where both our newspaper and Foster's will be printed.
It will mean some changes in delivery routes (we already work with several newspapers in delivery). It will mean getting used to new technical requirements. But our readers will continue to get our best news and feature reporting, and advertisers' information. And it will continue to be at your door, or in that blue Union Leader tube, or at your favorite store, in rain, snow, or early morning sunshine.
Write to Joe McQuaid at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @deucecrew.