TX - Stop the Presses! Paper Delivery Delay

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Thursday, June 29, 2000

Press Problem Delays Delivery of Newspaper

By Tara Copp Caller-Times

A toaster-size electrical board on the Caller-Times press broke late Tuesday night, delaying delivery of the morning newspaper until Wednesday afternoon.

The paper's crews worked all night to repair the press, and todays editions should not be affected, said Ron Ferriby vice president for production at the Caller-Times.

The press broke at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday - just as its gears would have started turning to publish Wednesday's edition. Around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, Caller-Times staff drove the newspaper plates to the Victoria Advocate; by 6:30 a.m. the first copies of the Caller-Times were running through the Advocate's press.

By Wednesday afternoon, the paper was available on city newspaper racks. Caller-Times staff ranging from reporters and editors to advertising executives joined in to drive routes, and by late afternoon, most papers were delivered.

By Wednesday afternoon the Caller-Times press had been repaired. The food discount coupons that usually appear in the Wednesday newspaper were not included. Those inserts will be in today's newspaper.

It's the third time in recent decades that the paper has been printed outside the Caller-Times walls, said publisher Steve Sullivan.

During Hurricane Celia in 1970, the San Antonio Express-News printed the Caller-Times. In 1980, the Advocate printed the newspaper after a fire damaged the pressroom.

"This was another situation where we couldn't physically get the press to work in time to produce late papers," Sullivan said. "We really want to thank the Victoria Advocate for all its help and especially the employees who managed through the night, and who threw papers to get us back on track. We hope our readers and advertisers understand this was an emergency situation, something we hope does not repeat itself."

The loss was noted across breakfast counters and morning coffee throughout the city, particularly for reader Willie Mellon, who had arrived home Tuesday night after a month in Europe.

"This is my first American meal back," said Mellon, over a plate of hash browns and an omelette at Price's Chef. "I was anxious to read the paper. After 28 days in Europe I'm here to read an American paper and eat American food."

Readers could still access Wednesday's local and wire news through the Web site, caller.com. The site normally gets about 70,000 page views a day, said Harold Ong, director of online servicess. Wednesday's traffic was expected to be higher, he said.

Meshing the Advocate's press with the Caller-Times printed page wasn't easy, said Charles Kulow, the Advocate's operations manager, because the two publications are different sizes. The Advocate's press is set for a longer paper, which is why Wednesday's Caller-Times has more white space at the top and bottom of the page.

Then they were trucked 100 miles back to the Caller-Times. There, dozens of Caller-Times staff, many of whom had never delivered a paper, drove the routes in place of morning carriers who have other jobs and normally deliver the paper before they report to those jobs. For Caller-Times account executive Elizabeth Campbell, it was an opportunity to meet the paper's subscribers - and possibly to prevent a neighborhood burglary.

"We saw these kids jumping over a fence" at a home near the intersection of Starlight Road and Eastwood Road, Campbell said. "I said, 'It looks like those kids are breaking into the house.' As we pulled away, the girl kept watching us, then took off running. So we called 911 to send a patrol car out." http://www.caller.com/2000/june/29/today/local_ne/3528.html

-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), June 29, 2000

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