Publisher’s note: Each of my sons used to watch a DVD series called Mighty Machines nearly every day. Each of the 10-minute segments covered the processes of everyday activities, like firefighters and EMTs, road workers and recycle facilities. My boys would sit on the couch transfixed, listening to the narrator who brought the people and machines to life with his quirky voice. One show featured a daily newspaper with 25-foot tall printing presses that cranked out thousands of papers an hour. Dozens of pressmen and paper handlers zoomed around, operating everything from a razor-sharp paper cutter to a nimble forklift.
That show was the impetus for this idea. We thought it would be fun to give everyone a glimpse of what it’s like to work at the Arcadia News, and what goes into creating each monthly edition.
Hundreds of man and woman hours go into each issue, with just four of us handling the bulk of the load. We also have several freelance reporters and writers who provide us with our stories and news, but we do more with four of us than many papers do with a dozen staff.
Each one of us has our special abilities/superpowers and our printer does an excellent job of making us look good. I’m proud of all our people and am always impressed when each issue arrives in my mailbox – it’s so fulfilling to see a tangible product that that is a result of our team’s dedicated efforts.
Here’s how it all comes together:
Greg Bruns, Publisher
At some print publishing companies, publisher is the position at the top of the tier. ‘The boss’ or ‘the overseer’ would be accurate similes. At the Arcadia News, the job title of publisher means ‘owner’ and ‘boss’ at the same time.
Greg is a hands-on owner, participating with the team in all steps of each monthly issue. He also maintains the company’s finances, ensuring day-to-day and future goals are set and met. Like the rest of the team, most of Greg’s day is spent on a computer, tablet or cell phone. Some of the owner’s responsibilities include establishing relationships with vendors, customers and other business people and leaders in the community.
As with any entrepreneur, most of Greg’s duties distill down to running the business, working with the team leaders in editorial, advertising sales and design. But all owners diversify, and one day you may find Greg cleaning the restroom or pulling weeds and the next day shooting photos at an Arcadia High School football game.
As an award-winning photographer and designer, Greg’s favorite part is when he gets to shoot photos and work (i.e. play) in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Greg’s roots at the newspaper include writing, photography, ad sales, ad design
and graphic design.
STORIES & NEWS
Nick Smith, Lead Editor
Ideas for stories that appear in the Arcadia News come from a wide variety of sources. Whether it’s hearing about a story through the grapevine, attending a local restaurant, or having a resident contact us, there’s never just one way that a story idea comes to us.
Each month starts with a pre-production meeting for Lead Editor Nick Smith and the editorial team. Each idea is discussed by the team and eventually, a final story list is put together for the month. Once the list is agreed upon, Nick assigns each story to a reporter. Each reporter is responsible for gathering information, interviewing sources, helping to obtain or take photos, and writing their story. After the story is turned in, Nick spends several days editing each piece before it is ready for design/production.
Once the stories have gone through the design process, the real fun begins. The entire issue is printed out page-by-page, and laid out all over the office. Nick and the rest of the editorial team spend several days looking over every single inch of the paper to try and make sure there aren’t any errors.
Finally, the paper is (hopefully) error-free and ready to go. But there’s no time to rest, as it’s already time for next month’s meeting!
Roni Mier, Sales Director
Readers may be surprised to hear that the ratio of ads to editorial in the Arcadia News is 65:35. Ads are a core part of the paper, as they help keep the lights on and inform the community. In fact, we have had many readers tell us that the first thing they look at when they get their Arcadia News is the ads!
Roni Mier handles the advertising department, working with customers placing everything from full page ads to classifieds, online ads and custom inserts. For those looking to sit down and talk through an ad concept, Roni is the one to go to. She collaborates with designer Gabe Turner to help provide ideas and information for print and online ads, interfacing with customers and presenting ads for their review and approval.
Roni also manages the advertisers’ online ads at arcadianews.com, and helps to ensure that we are meeting deadlines.
If you’ve ever walked in to the Arcadia News office, chances are you’ve already met Roni. She provides customer service to advertisers and readers who call, stop by or contact us by email. Roni also evaluates sponsorships and helps to implement our participation at community events.
Gabe Turner, Designer
One of the aspects of the Arcadia News that we are most proud of, is the design. This is where Gabe Turner comes in. Gabe is an award-winning designer who goes into overdrive during production week at the end of every month.
Gabe spends the weeks leading up to production working with the editorial and the advertising departments, meeting with Roni and Nick so he knows exactly what will be featured in that month’s edition. He creates a template in Adobe InDesign and fills it with spaces for the stories, laying them out based on their size and category. He surrounds the stories and fills in gaps with the advertisements.
Gabe works with Adobe Photoshop, ensuring every photo is color balanced and looks the best it possibly can when printed on newspaper. Once Gabe has all the stories and ads, he lays out the entire paper, making sure every piece is in its proper place in the template.
After he is finished with the layout, Gabe prints the proofs, so Nick and the team can begin proofing and editing. During this stage, Gabe works carefully with the team, to ensure every correction has been made. Once the corrections are double-checked and approved, Gabe sends the final pages to the printer, who will then send one last proof back to the Arcadia News team for one final check. Once that has been approved, the printing process begins.
After our team finishes the production process, we upload the paper to the printer:
1. The printer processes the files, creating four plates for each page using their laser-etched computer-to-plate processor. The process is light-sensitive, hence the dark-room-like lighting.
2. Our printer has one of the most advanced presses in the Southwest.
3. Computers control the ink and color quality, but only under the watchful eye of the press operators.
4. There are multiple checkpoints and numerous professionals who help maintain the quality of our award-winning paper.
5. Copies of the paper are bundled together and loaded onto pallets for delivery to the main offices of the US Postal Service, and the Arcadia News.
Each month, the printer churns out upwards of 1.3 million pages.
After our printer bundles up 20,000 copies of the paper, it’s time to deliver the new issue to our readers. The Arcadia News partners with the US Postal Service to hand-deliver our paper to more than 13,000 households in the Arcadia / Biltmore / Paradise Valley and Scottsdale areas. For the remaining 7,000 copies, we have our own in-house distribution team.
Bob Bruns is our distribution manager, responsible for filling and maintaining nearly 100 locations each month. Bob leads a team of family members from in-laws to grandkids, who all pitch in and help with our family-owned newspaper. Some of our busiest racks are at the Phoenix Public Library branches, but we distribute to car washes, restaurants, coffee shops, medical offices, art galleries and many other places.
Bob retired from corporate America many years ago, but he loves to stay active, so a part-time job with his family was a welcomed position. As the head of the distribution department, his duties include visiting locations throughout the month, ensuring papers are neat and orderly and available for pickup.