There’s no doubt viewer habits are changing and the newspaper industry’s traditional business model has been disrupted by the rise of the Internet. Everyone is trying to survive, including The Seattle Times.
When my friend in Portland texted me the news about The Oregonian, I thought, “Which print daily is next?” The Seattle Post-Intelligencer stopped printing altogether in 2009. The New Orleans Times-Picayune shifted to three-days-a-week in 2012.
I hate to see the art and craft of printing newspapers go unappreciated.
Last weekend, I joined one of The Seattle Times’ “Saturday Night Live” tours, where employees are led on a seven-hour journey from the lobby of the Times building to the newsroom, the North Creek printing facility in Bothell and, finally, one of several warehouses in Lynnwood where an incredible diversity of newspaper carriers prepare their home deliveries.
I spend my time at headquarters in South Lake Union and previously worked for online and television organizations, so I didn’t truly understand the complex process it takes to get the print edition of The Seattle Times to our readers.
I was surprisingly overwhelmed and emotional by the end of the tour. I’m really proud to work here and I hope we never face the tough choice of having to limit our print edition. I think of the many people I saw Saturday night who keep our presses going, sort out massive transportation logistics, package our newspapers and prepare them for delivery.
Some veteran employees have been here for 30, 35 years. So many new immigrants, too. For me, it was a stark reminder that making newspapers is an honest living and feeds families. Many of our counterparts in Oregon are about to lose their jobs, and that is a sad, sad reality.
Have you ever wondered what it takes to get that paper to your doorstep or newsstand? Or question why it costs $1 on weekdays and $2 to get your daily dose of Seattle information?
Here’s a look at the process. I snapped these photos during the tour and posted them to my Instagram account. I get an employee discount for my daily print subscription, but after seeing how the newspaper is crafted, I’m happy to pay full price for the product I play a tiny part in helping to produce.
How does news get printed and delivered to your door? It’s an incredible process that merges art, technology and people. LOTS of people. Images by Thanh Tan during The Seattle Times’ tri-annual Saturday Night Live” tour for employees, between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m., June 15-16, 2013.