In the newspaper industry, there are multiple components that need to be met to publish a quality newspaper.
The advertising department needs to sell ads, reporters need to cover events and meetings that happen in the area, and the circulation department needs to sell subscriptions to area readers.
But even if the combination of advertising, reporting and circulating is top notch, the newspaper couldn't excel without quality printers printing it.
At the TIMES NEWS in Lehighton, everything flows smoothly, from the first ad placed on the page to the last copy of the day's edition coming off the three-story press.
That's why, for the second year in a row, the TIMES NEWS took first place in the under 25,000 circulation division of the America East Print Quality Contest, organized by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.
The award was presented to representatives of the company on March 14, during the annual America East Newspaper Operations and Technology Conference in Hershey.
"It is very gratifying to know we have a staff of people who are skilled and dedicated in making sure the quality of our printing is the best that it can be," said Fred Masenheimer, publisher of the TIMES NEWS. "It takes a real team effort to achieve results that get recognized by our peers for an award like this."
He credited the expertise of Bob Miller, director of Prepress Operations, for leading the charge at continually upgrading the company's technology and streamlining the process used when printing the TIMES NEWS; as well as Len Alabovitz, plant manager, for his dedication to guaranteeing that every day's newspaper that leaves TN Printing is a step above the rest.
"We are pleased they take so much pride in their work," Masenheimer added. "From discussions I've had with other employers, they don't always get the same results from their employees."
Miller echoed Masenheimer's feelings on the recent win for the publication.
"I feel that the award is a testimonial as to how people and technology can work together as one to achieve success," he said.
Miller noted that since 2004, the TIMES NEWS and TN Printing have done a number of upgrades to enhance and increase the quality of printing done at the facility, including eliminating film in the prepress production process, which allowed the team to image plates directly from the electronic file.
They also made enhancements in the color management techniques, which gave them better control over the amount of ink transferred onto the paper; added computer hardware that provides press operators with an electronic representation of what the printed page should look like; installed automated photo enhancement software to the editorial workflow that improves color quality and image sharpness for each image printed in the paper; and added a combination of hardware and software to the press that helps efficiently control printing registration.
"We have made many technological enhancements that have helped to increase the quality of printing we do here at our Mahoning Valley facility," Miller said. "But, the technology, although important, is only part of the equation. Our experienced and conscientious team of employees at TN Printing make sure everything comes together to ensure top quality printing for the advertisers and subscribers of the TIMES NEWS, East Penn Publishing, and our many commercial printing customers."
During the Print Quality Contest, the enhancements the TIMES NEWS has made helped prove that it is looking toward the future in printing.
Entries were judged on a number of criteria, including the quality of ink coverage of color inks and black ink; the alignment of each color to one another; the halftone quality of the photos; the page and print alignment; and the overall print quality for things such as ink tracking and offsetting.
This is the third time the TIMES NEWS has taken first place honors since beginning to enter the contest in 2006, when the company received a top 25 percent ranking. Other first place wins were in 2008 and 2011.
In 2007, the TIMES NEWS received a blue ribbon award; and in 2010, second place.
"I'm pleased the TIMES NEWS was chosen for a first place honor but I am just as happy to have two of the other daily newspapers we print (The Republican-Herald of Pottsville, and The News-Item of Shamokin) take a second and third in the competition," Masenheimer said.
The complete list of Print Quality Contest Winners at America East is below.
Under 25,000 division
1. The TIMES NEWS, Lehighton.
2. The Daily Review, Towanda.
3. The News-Item, Shamokin.
1. Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y., printer of USA Today.
2. The Republican-Herald, Pottsville.
3. The Eagle Tribune, North Andover, Mass.
1. The Villages Daily Sun, Villages, Fla.
2. The Post-Standard, Syracuse, N.Y.
3. The Roanoke Times, Roanoke, Va.
Over 100,000 division
1. Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y.
2. The Record, Hackensack, N.J.
Best of Show
Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y.
Blue Ribbon Winners
Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y.
Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y., printer of USA Today
The Daily Review, Towanda.
The Eagle Tribune, North Andover, Mass.
The News-Item, Shamokin.
The Post-Standard, Syracuse, N.Y.
The Republican-Herald, Pottsville.
The TIMES NEWS, Lehighton.
The Villages Daily Sun, Villages, Fla.
Yakima Herald-Republic, Yakima, Wash.