A few weeks ago on a Friday morning, The Boston Globe was nice enough to host a group of PR pros from the PubClub of New England. We had a wonderful time meeting all of the staffers, touring the facility, and hearing about all of the assets the paper has now. One of my favorite parts was hearing about how they are now housing start-ups in the building to help them launch new products.
As PR pros, our job usually ends as soon as the story is submitted by a journalist to be printed – but that is just the beginning of the life of a article at the Globe. Once a writer’s deadline hits, the story physically travels all over the building (and sometimes across New England) before it lands in the hands of readers.
First, it’s written in the newsroom – this part we’re familiar with. However, I thought the Globe newsroom was rather overwhelming! I had no idea how huge it was. This part of the journey usually happens at night, we’ll say around 7pm:
Around 10pm: The stories are etched on to special plates that are used to print the paper (the room has special yellow lighting so they aren’t damaged):
The plates, which can only ever be used once (they are recycled, don’t worry!) are created on these machines….
And they are then clipped to and taken up this ski lift-type track to the press room (right over the heads of these PR pros!):
Meanwhile, in the press room, rolls and rolls of paper are ready for printing. The Globe actually has a train track in their press room (not pictured) and these rolls of paper are delivered directly to the Globe via train.
Since the rolls are so heavy (1,700 lbs each!) they are moved around by these unmanned robots:
You can see the their tire tracks along the press room floor:
Around 2:00 am: The first edition begins printing!
The Globe has four working presses, but they only ever use three at a time in case one goes down. The presses are intelligent enough that they can typically fix themselves if something breaks, but they also always have repairmen on hand as backup.
There are actually three editions of the Globe printed every day. The first edition has three stars on the edge of the page and is sent to the farthest-reaching distribution locations (Maine, Cape Cod, etc.). The second edition has two stars on the edge of the page and is sent to the metro Boston area. The last edition has one star and is sent to Boston proper. This allows edits and/or updates to be made right up until the last minute.
And voila! The paper lands in the hands of the readers. This tour certainly was an eye-opening experience and I’ll certainly think differently about working with newspapers from now on.
Were you on the tour? What as your favorite part? If you weren’t, have you ever seen a newspaper being printed? Let us know in the comments section below.