News Media

Paper Goes Pressless To Avoid Red Ink

Barely a month before its 144th birthday, Idaho’s largest newspaper announced it will soon be without a printing press.
Founder James S. Reynolds would rollover in his grave if he were to learn the paper he founded will soon be without its own printing press. Coming from Maine with intentions of opening a paper in Idaho City, Reynolds was approached–as the story goes–by H.C. Riggs on behalf of Boise Citizens who wanted a newspaper in the summer of 1864.

They offered Reynolds $1,500 and free use of a dirt floor office for a year to start a paper. Brothers Tom and Dick Reynolds (no relation to James) were headed to Idaho City with the printing press. James is said to have jumped on a horse to intercept the printers and set up shop in Boise.
No press in a wagon today. The brass at McClatchy–the latest of several recent owners of the Statesman–said they are chopping 1,400 jobs throughout the 30 paper chain as advertising revenues plummet. They say the aging Statesman press would be using RED INK if replaced. They plan to maintain the existing press for back up and insert printing.

The Idaho Statesman, affectionately known as “The Daily Paper” in GUARDIAN posts, is putting 24 production guys on the street and paying their newsie neighbors at the Idaho Press Tribune in Nampa to put ink to paper.

KBCI-TV Reporter Scott Logan, who traces his own career start as a Statesman copyboy, reported the story Tuesday. The Daily Paper has been hammered by competition from TV people like Logan and of course the GUARDIAN and hundreds of other bloggers.

NOTE–The iconic photos by GUARDIAN editor David R. Frazier were made last month at the Houston Chronical’s gigantic stand alone printing facility in Texas. We never thought of photography without film, but a newspaper without a printing press after 144 years?

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Aw heck–I was just getting ready to sub for the 2d time in about 8 years so I’d have paper mulch to put on the weeds in my garden.
    How come BW isn’t going broke? I smell a large rat in this.
    If the paper isn’t getting enough ads,something’s wrong with their advertising game plan.
    Is BW next? That means a lot less recycling and a lot more weeds.
    Is this a belated April Fool joke?

  2. “Paper Goes Pressless To Avoid Red Ink
    Barely a month before its 144th birthday, Idaho’s largest newspaper announced it will soon be without a printing press.”

    Jeez, Guardian, if you couldn’t stand to read the whole story in the Daily, at least read your own! Both say the Spaceman *will* have a press (it just won’t use it much).

    A truthful lead would be something like … “announced it soon will not print its own paper.”

    Yeah, yeah, it wouldn’t make as cute a headline, but that kind of error is something one expects in the Idaho Mistakesman, not in the Guardian.
    Guess you could have made a headline about Daily Paper plans to be mostly depressing. Or not.

    (And as long as I’m getting on your case, “rollover” in the second paragraph should be “roll over.”)
    Don’t you miss working with me?


  3. The life blood of a newspaper is the advertising revenue. It is drying up due to competetion from the internet, free advertising on Craig’s List. Moreover, bloggers are beating the snail news to the punch over and over on the big local stories day in and day out.

    I will say that the Idaho Press Tribune does a really good job of local news about the people and things going on in Canyon County. The Statesman does a pretty good job of covering the State Legislature. The internet owns the late breaking news of the day world-wide.

  4. This is really a sad commentary on the state of newspapers today in general and Boise’s paper specifically. There really is nothing like reading a real newspaper over your cereal. I stopped getting the WSJ and started reading it on line but finally went back to the real thing. (Notice I said a real newspaper – sorry Statesman).

    The other problem with the Statesman is their website is so very very bad. It’s visually unappealing, hard to navigate and quite boring. It should really have a complete redo but since McClatchy is cutting costs, that looks to be an impossibility.

  5. Comment 2: will their new printer. the Press Trib, still use soy-based ink?

    Editor Note– Jo, are you saying there is no meat to the Daily Paper. Where’s the beef?

  6. Paper watcher
    Jun 17, 2008, 8:13 pm

    I loved the arrogance of the current transient publisher in the article announcing the “historic” agreement.

    “We have more readers today than ever before – for our newspaper, our website and our niche products.”


    FACT: one year ago THRIVE magazine was still in existence. Today it is not

    FACT: The paper’s website grew just 1/10th of one percent from July 2006 to July 2007 (according to The Media Audit – Inside information indicates almost no growth this year as well.

    FACT: The Audit Bureau of Circulation shows that the paper killed trees for 65,124 daily copies. By September of 2007 – fewer trees died for 61,473 copies. Today, that number is very likely even lower – despite the carnival barkers positioned at Fred Meyer and the mall

    So let’s compute: Killed its largest niche publication. Website not growing. Six percent drop in circulation.

    Fewer people are reading the Idaho Statesman’s products today than a year ago… or even two.

    Also – it’s a disservice to the SIXTEEN people laid off Monday to bury that fact in the eighth paragraph of a story that didn’t even run in the A section of the paper.

  7. Boise Whiskey Tango
    Jun 17, 2008, 8:21 pm

    On more than one occasion, I have found the “Local” section totally devoid of articles of Local origin. Every single article taken from the AP / UPI Wires.

    Puff pieces, regurgitated Press Releases, feeds from the Wire Services and an obsession with the sexual orientation of a thertain U.S. Thenator [sic] seem to pass for journalism on Curtis Road.

    More often than not, for in depth-reporting of important State issues, I find the New York Times far more informative than our “Local” rag.

    And despite the bombast of their promotional spots, our local broadcast news services really aren’t any better, and the demographic shift to their medium is more indicative of the laziness of the average American (at least when it comes to staying informed about important issues) than a damnation of print.

    “All that evil (or at least the corrupt and inept) needs to succeed is for good men to stand by and do nothing.”

  8. Grumpy ole guy
    Jun 18, 2008, 4:14 am

    I suppose the cheap shot here would be to go for the “since they don’t produce much news reporting, they don’t need much paper, press-time, or ink”. The sad fact of the matter is that several of the columnists are quite good writers but this reader gets the feeling that they are reigned in, in space and in topics covered. The “news” sections are a sad, sad joke, the dearth shows an alarming lack of ability to cover news worthy events.

  9. Interesting that one of Boise’s most ardent cheerleaders should become a metaphor for the greater economic reality of the valley: It’s gone west young man.

    Eagle, the Foothills, and East Boise get the glory, but for every 10 houses sold in those areas, more than 90 are sold west of 5-Mile, South of the river. The western part of the valley is adding shopping centers while Boise struggles, for a second decade, to find an answer to The Pit. Boise pays people to promote it in magazines and other locals (with dubious effect) while manufacturing operations quietly move in and start up in the Nampa-Caldwell area.

    Don’t get me wrong, Boise is not dead. However, as the western migration of the Statesman’s printing press attests, the economic force of the western valley is real, it is growing, and in some respects has already surpassed Boise.

  10. And the crossword puzzle must be prepared in Indonesia or is computer generated. It is not as much fun as it used to be.

  11. Rod in SE Boise
    Jun 18, 2008, 7:58 pm

    We can argue wether the loss of ad revinue is a long term trend for the print news industry or something that has happened since gas passed $3 per gallon and diesel passed $4 per gallon. But with gas over $4 and diesel approaching $5, fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride in all phases of the economy. It could get really ugly. Some would advise you to start hoarding canned goods and ammo. We could see the return of double digit inflation which could lead to……………

  12. Shouldn’t that be the Houston Chronicle? Another great newspaper that has gone downhill…still better than the Mistakesman, which is worthless except to keep my boxer from making scoot marks on the carpet.

  13. bert farber
    Jun 19, 2008, 1:43 pm

    If you’re ever in Houston, you’d better do right. Better not gamble. Better not fight. Cause the sheriff’ll get you, his boys’ll take you down, and next thing you know — you’re prison bound.

  14. Interestingly, a recent nationwide study determined that the majority of people seek their news — especially local news — from traditional news sources when they go online. The conclusion was that if the news sources (TV and newspaper) understood how to leverage that information and market the broadcast/print versions in tandem with well-structured Web pages, the traditional local news outlets are still the most potent game in town.

    A recent national media conference speaker also called for newspapers and TV stations to make their Web sites one-stop information sources about their towns.

    There is a lag of understanding this power in the case of advertisers. But when the media outlets themselves do little to demonstrate the point, then it is a two-fold loss for the community.

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