Like branches of a swift-running river, two streams of clean newsprint merged right into a single path, changing into a racing blur of shade and black ink that disappeared into the steel mass of the Goss Headliner.
“I by no means get uninterested in watching that,” declared Lonnie Vincent, who has labored in The Each day Sentinel pressroom for 34 years and has been pressroom supervisor since 2007.
We had been watching the press print The Nickel need advertisements one afternoon not too long ago. It was a number of hours earlier than the Goss would begin printing the following day’s version of The Sentinel.
The Sentinel you’re studying at the moment is the final version to be printed on the Goss, which is being retired after 37 years of operation right here. To any extent further, the Sentinel can be printed at The Montrose Each day Press.
Amongst a number of causes for the retirement is the truth that acquiring substitute components for the Goss has turn into extraordinarily troublesome. A number of occasions lately, Vincent and his pressroom colleagues have needed to flip to machinist pals to fabricate substitute components when a chunk on the Goss has damaged. Or they’ve tracked down components abroad.
Whereas it’s been difficult, it’s additionally been enjoyable to maintain the press working, Vincent stated, like engaged on an vintage automobile.
Newspapers and printing presses have been part of Grand Junction for nearly so long as the city has existed. The primary printing press arrived in Grand Junction in October of 1882, only a 12 months after Grand Junction was established.
Edwin Value put in the press in his log cabin on Foremost Avenue to print the Grand Junction Information, the nascent neighborhood’s first newspaper. The hand-cranked, flatbed press arrived by stagecoach a month earlier than the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad reached Grand Junction.
When the Goss Headliner was delivered to the Sentinel 102 years later, the 180-ton press arrived by rail in a number of items. It took three weeks to ship the entire components and set up them in a brand new press constructing constructed simply to deal with the three-story machine.
That press constructing has a concrete slab that’s three toes thick, which sits on 123 pylons that had been pushed all the way down to bedrock. The pylons vary from 20 toes to 60 toes deep.
Within the early Nineteen Eighties, when the Sentinel and its then-parent firm, Cox Enterprises Inc., determined to buy the brand new press, western Colorado was in a frenzy of growth, sparked by oil shale and different power sources. A inhabitants of practically 2 million individuals was predicted for the area.
Because the Western Slope’s largest newspaper, it was evident that The Sentinel would develop dramatically and would require a extra fashionable press than the previous Harris 1650 it was utilizing on the time.
However regional progress was simply one of many points that prompted the choice for a brand new press. One other was a want to enhance the standard of the newspaper, partially by making extra shade accessible for all components of the paper, which advertisers had been searching for.
Equally vital, basis issues had been threatening to destroy the present pressroom, the place the Harris press had been put in following a fireplace in 1974.
FULLY INSTALLED IN JULY 1984
Nevertheless, by July of 1984, when the Goss press was put in on the Sentinel, the area was two years into an financial decline brought on by the bursting of the oil shale bubble.
Nonetheless, Cox Enterprises and The Sentinel moved ahead with the brand new press. As then-Writer Jim Kennedy put it when the Goss was devoted on July 26, 1984, “This can be a giant firm with an funding in the neighborhood. We really feel it’s a superb neighborhood and we’re ready to commit our assets to it.”
That $6.5 million funding – $5 million for the press and roughly $1.5 million for the brand new press constructing – might have been scaled again and even deserted when the power economic system tanked. Nevertheless, Sentinel administration determined to go ahead with the challenge, Kennedy stated, thus demonstrating its perception in the way forward for Grand Junction.
I used to be a younger reporter working in The Each day Sentinel’s Montrose bureau when the brand new press was put in, however, like practically each different worker of the paper, I used to be on the dedication ceremony that morning.
So had been practically 100 individuals from round Grand Junction, together with enterprise and neighborhood leaders. Then-Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm spoke on the dedication. So did Charles Glover, the president of Cox Enterprises on the time.
George Orbanek, editorial web page editor of The Sentinel in 1984 and later Sentinel writer for greater than twenty years, recalled that then-County Commissioner Maxine Albers broke a bottle of champagne in opposition to one of many press towers to christen it.
“Who can think about one thing like that occurring at the moment? Nobody,” Orbanek stated. However, he added, “It was a unique period, earlier than all of the evanescent bits and bytes of the digital revolution have all however made typical printing presses out of date.”
When the dedication was full, the brand new press was switched on and commenced printing that day’s version of The Sentinel, a 52-page paper with a particular part in regards to the new press and 20 further pages of promoting dietary supplements.
Working the Goss Headliner required members of the press crew to study new methods of doing issues, stated Michael Montano, who has labored for The Sentinel for 44 years and is the one member of the 2021 press crew who was on the workforce when the swap was made out of the Harris to the Goss.
“The Harris was simpler, nevertheless it was sluggish,” Montano stated. “We at all times needed to cease it to alter rolls of newsprint.” Printing needed to halt totally whereas members of the press crew manually modified rolls of newsprint.
In distinction, the Goss has what had been known as “flying pasters.” On the backside of the press towers are giant spindles that maintain three rolls of newsprint. As one roll runs out, the following is introduced as much as press pace and begins robotically feeding into the printing items.
If all pages are black and white, it could produce a paper of 96 pages. With full shade, it could deal with 64-page papers.
NEW LESSONS FOR PRESS CREW
Nevertheless, press crew members needed to study new digital procedures when it got here to paint changes.
“On the previous Harris, every part was handbook,” Montano stated. “I bear in mind we needed to determine how you can do every part electronically” on the Goss. “We went from adjusting ink keys manually on the previous press, to only pushing buttons on the brand new one.”
Throughout 37 years of operation, the digital circuit boards for the colour changes have step by step burned out, and new replacements weren’t accessible. So shade on the Goss is now adjusted manually, a lot because it was on the previous Harris press, he stated.
The 5 printing towers of the Goss Headliner are able to spinning out 60,000 pages an hour, in comparison with roughly 40,000 an hour for the previous Harris. And that doesn’t embody the requirement of shutting down the Harris to alter paper rolls.
Within the busiest days of the Goss’s operation in Grand Junction – the Nineties via the early 2000s – giant promoting inserts had been frequently printed together with The Each day Sentinel. Then the Goss Headliner incessantly ran close to its high pace — round 50,000 pages an hour.
Essentially the most copies of The Each day Sentinel ever printed occurred on Aug. 31, 1997, the day that Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a automobile crash in Paris, Orbanek recalled. The information got here too late to make it within the Denver each day newspapers, he recalled. However individuals at The Sentinel scrambled to make it the lead story in that Sunday’s paper.
“Mixed with our common subscribers and single-copy gross sales, that day’s total circulation was the best in The Each day Sentinel’s historical past,” between 35,000 and 40,000 copies, he stated.
“The press did an exquisite job that night time, because it did time after time,” Orbanek added.
However now there are fewer promoting inserts and The Sentinel has fewer complete pages than it did at its peak. Consequently, increased press pace and capability is now not obligatory.
“It’s like driving a semi to commute to work each day,” stated present Sentinel Writer Jay Seaton.
It’s not simply Grand Junction the place newspaper manufacturing has modified dramatically. Up to now twenty years, newspaper circulation nationwide has dropped from simply over 55 million households to roughly 28 million households. Many newspapers have ceased publication or gone to on-line solely.
When the Goss Headliner started printing in Grand Junction, it was the third of its type to enter manufacturing in the US. Papers in Gainesville, Fla., and Joplin, Mo., put in Goss Headliners earlier in 1984.
It’s not recognized how lots of the Headliners are nonetheless in operation, however Goss – now Manroland Goss Internet Methods – now not manufactures them.
When it was put in, the Goss was anticipated to final 50 years or extra, Orbanek stated. “The grim actuality is that the digital revolution has just about extinguished all of the makers of spare press components.” If spare components had been nonetheless accessible, the Goss and different presses prefer it might most likely proceed to function.
The Sentinel’s Goss goes to stay the place it’s, within the pressroom that was constructed for it practically 40 years in the past, a type of museum to a unique time in newspaper historical past. It’s too costly to dismantle and transfer it, Seaton stated. A few of its components could also be offered to different newspapers which can be nonetheless working Goss Headliners, he added.
For Vincent, who’s retiring after at the moment, it will likely be bittersweet realizing that rivers of newsprint are now not flowing via the Goss. “I believe the world of that press,” he stated. “It’s been a superb run. I’ve loved the heck out of it.”
Sources: Writer interviews with Lonnie Vincent, Michael Montano and different members of The Each day Sentinel press crew; e mail feedback from George Orbanek; The Each day Sentinel, July 26, 1984 via www.newspapers.com; “Grand Junction, 1881,” by Al Look; “Why Has Native Information Collapsed?” by Jack Shafer, Politico, www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/06/12.