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Roll the presses!

Have you ever wondered what it takes to get that newspaper to your front steps every morning? The process may surprise you. It takes hundreds of people, late hours, and little sleep to get that paper out every day.

A few months ago I had the opportunity to go on a brief tour of the Post-Gazette building, the largest newspaper producer in Pittsburgh. The best way to describe the process of making the paper is that it is an organized chaos. Even the workers admit that it is a miracle that a paper is completed every day.

You name it, I saw it. From the sports writers to the people that create the headlines every day. I got to meet the editor of the paper, David Shribman, who works late into the night making sure each paper is put together and perfect for the next morning. I went into the graphic designer’s room, which was full of amazing sketches soon to make print in the newspaper. Every room of workers I walked through was overflowing with papers and post-it notes covered with ideas. It was stressful yet inspirational at the same time.

The most interesting part of my tour was when they took us into the two level basement floors. That is where the press machines are located. Everyone walked through with caution because every inch of the place was dusted in ink. There were conveyer belts and printers everywhere. There were isles and isles of rolls of blank paper soon to be loaded into the machine and printed on. Each roll weighs over a thousand pounds. Looking at the paper, it is really amazing that something so simple can make thousands of newspapers.

Unfortunately, my tour guide informed us that the press machines we saw were soon to be replaced with new and improved ones. They are just implementing those machines now and there are lots of changes being made at the Post Gazette.

What I will never forget from this tour is how every single person is crucial to the creation of the paper. It may not seem like much, but it takes a lot of work to get the paper out every morning. Even some of the writers admit it is a miracle the paper makes it out every day.

More on the new press machines: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/09/21/PG-operations-unified-at-a-single-plant/stories/201409210090

PG Letter to Readers: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/09/21/A-new-and-renewed-commitment/stories/201409210100