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About our new press: Photos

Months before the new press went to work, several of The Journal Gazette’s editors wrote commentaries about what it meant to them and to our readers. This was the second of those pieces of commentary:

When The Journal Gazette fires up its new press mid-2007 in the new Fort Wayne Newspapers production building at Main and Van Buren streets, the printing of your newspaper will be done on a state-of-the-art offset press.

Without dwelling on the arcane operations of a high-speed press, what will all this mean to you when the newspaper is plunked down on your doorstep each morning? It will deliver:

• Cleaner, crisper printing of the words and pictures in both the news and advertising content of The Journal Gazette.

• Dramatically improved rendition of the black-and-white photographs in your newspaper.

• And improved, color photography.

Most likely, it will be the color photographs that you will notice first. There will be more of them, and they will pop from the pages with a crispness and color clarity you haven't seen before in Fort Wayne.

This all flows from the engineering of an "offset" press, built on the concept of a sensitized plate, chemically treated so that the areas to be printed -- the words, the drawings, the photographs -- will accept ink, while all other areas on printing plate are coated with water and repel ink. Thus, a very small dot of ink can be applied neatly and cleanly to a sheet of paper -- the "newsprint" paper which whips through the press at 90,000 newspapers an hour.

The current process, called letterpress printing, relies on applying ink to a raised surface and pressing that surface against the paper, a technology that has changed little since Johannes Gutenberg developed movable type back in 1450.

The reproduction of color photographs -- any color photographs, in The Journal Gazette or any magazine or other publication you may read -- is truly the illusion of color, an artificial color world created on paper with only four colors of ink: Blue, red, yellow and black. All other colors -- the greens, the oranges, the brilliance of a sunset or the subtle hues of fashion photographs -- are all created through the proper mixing and printing of the blue and red (which are, technically speaking, cyan and magenta), the yellow and the black.

There's nothing new about this. Color photographs have been published in The Journal Gazette for nearly 30 years, but only on select pages and with a technology that sometimes lost the more subtle varieties of tone and hue.

The new printing technology offered with the new press will allow those color inks to be applied to the page in much smaller dots, more tightly compressed, with less smear and spread of the ink on paper and thus . . .deliver a photo report more accurately representing the people, places and events visited by the photographers of The Journal Gazette, the Associated Press and other photographers around the world.

Photojournalists at The Journal Gazette and elsewhere are now using digital cameras, allowing photographs to be recorded and delivered more quickly with richer and more detailed color and content.

Soon those photographs, providing you with a window on the world of news and information, will come to you in richer, brighter, more realistic color.