Printers step up to the plate

PRESS PEOPLE: Roger Adams, Craig Jenner, David Engert, David Hedges with plaque, Craig Deaton, Mick Smithers and Stephen McDougall were among the print tradesmen who worked on the publications. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 280514GOE02

PRESS PEOPLE: Roger Adams, Craig Jenner, David Engert, David Hedges with plaque, Craig Deaton, Mick Smithers and Stephen McDougall were among the print tradesmen who worked on the publications. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 280514GOE02

THE Northern Daily Leader has won a prestigious newspaper production award for a special magazine that celebrated the 10-year anniversary of Tamworth Regional Council – and is in the running for another this month.

In fact, The Leader’s Tamworth print site staff took out the double for a commercial publication category at the SWUG technical print awards a few weeks ago.

It won the gold and silver for the best cold-set commercial publication – the top gong for the 28-page quarterfold publication and printed news magazine in March this year, which marked the amalgamation of the local government areas of Parry, Barraba, Nundle, Manilla and Tamworth into one body.

The magazine reported stories about projects, events and activities that had been achieved over the decade since and celebrated the strength and social reach of the local government body. 

The second award for the Tamworth press site gang was for a similar product to mark the Moree Show.

Those awards came at the SWUG Newspaper Awards in Darwin and impressed judges, industry types and Fairfax regional media management – and the blokes involved in putting it all together for the presses.

SWUG stands for “single-width press users group” – but a single-width press refers to the width of the plate cylinder on a newspaper press. Typically, a single-width press will have two printing plates mounted side-by-side on the plate cylinder printing onto a continuous roll of paper about 890mm wide.

This configuration prints four pages of tabloid newspaper on each side of the web with each revolution of the plate cylinder, or eight pages in total.

Traditionally, the single- width configuration was the most popular press type for printing small-edition newspapers.

The Leader print site in Glen Artney estate out near the abattoirs, uses a Goss Community SSC press.

According to plant manager David Hedges it’s an older style press but has competed against some print sites in Australia and New Zealand which are much newer – and computerised presses, too.

The Goss was first introduced in 1962 and while there were apparently more than 40,000 print units sold worldwide, making it the best selling single-width press on the market and one which is still in widespread use today.

Mr Hedges says the technical aspects such as consistency in ink, colour registration, pin tears, the fold and cleanliness are all judged as part of the category assessment.

The Leader press is a second-hand one too – with equipment from sites as far as Wagga and Nowra used in its rehabilitation five years ago, when it moved to its current site from Taminda, near the racecourse.

It operates with two shifts including 14 fulltime staff and eight casual printers and prints some 49 different products a week – using about 20 tonnes of newsprint a week. It provides print products to places as far apart as Newcastle and Port Macquarie to the Queensland border.

It prints regional newspapers, from dailies like The Leader six nights a week, to bi-weekly editions and tri-weeklies.

Some of its printers have amassed impressive career records on the job too. 

In Tamworth, Roger Adams has been back with the press gang for 11 years, although he had a long period of service before a break from the industry, Craig Jenner, the publishing and plate room manager, has been with us 29 years, Mick Smithers can count 28 years with the Tamworth crew and Dave Hedges has 25 years with the Fairfax family.

The Leader crew this month are on another high, too – they’ve been named as finalists in the Pre-Print or Supplement category of the PANPA Newspaper of the Year award for the same TRC publication. It has entries from major media companies right across the Pacific area. 

And Print Leader are finalists as well in the Print Centre of the Year category, for technical excellence, along with major press sites from Perth, North Richmond, Sydney and Queensland. 

The awards will be announced later in August.

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