116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The team at The Gazette is a bit like a performer waiting backstage for the curtain to open, lights to go up and orchestra to begin the debut of a new show.
We open a new chapter in our history this week as we say goodbye to our printing press — affectionately referred to as Big Blue — and transition printing to Gannett Publishing Services in Des Moines. When you pick up Thursday’s edition, it will be our first printed in Des Moines.
A huge amount of work has gone into reworking plans. We’ve gone over our scripts, and things look good in practice. But later this week, the plans go from imagined on paper and flow charts, to reality and the way we deliver the newspaper — or daily miracle — each day.
In the end, we’re hoping you don’t notice a lot of change.
Longtime Gazette journalist Mary Sharp connected with our Color Web Printers team in the Iowa Today cover story detailing the end of newspaper printing at The Gazette. The dedication the Color Web team has had through the years is second to none, and they’ve been outstanding stewards to help us deliver on our promise of delivering a great newspaper each day.
The printing change impacts most things we do, as our last page deadlines will be about two hours earlier each night. We remain committed to covering prep sports, night meetings and other happenings with the same vigor we have before this change.
But there will be changes to how we present coverage from late events. We’ll continue to grow our digital focus.
Many processes and practices have been tied to the print deadline, even as we’ve increasingly built out our online focus. We’ll be transitioning some members of the team to earlier shifts, have reimagined how we cover certain events and have new processes to get the pages to the press each day.
It may take us a few days to get faster, or to make some adjustments, so we may need a little grace as we get these new routines locked into place. If there is specific feedback or concerns, I’d encourage you to please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are a few things that I want to share with folks to prepare for the changes.
Unlock Green Gazette access
As we transition, we’ll be adding pages to the online Green Gazette as news warrants. We’ll also be launching enhanced features over the next couple weeks, including photo galleries and links to video.
I’d encourage everyone to unlock their access to the Green Gazette by downloading the app from the App Store or Google Play or by using the link atop thegazette.com. Access to this tool (which includes a healthy collection of past editions) is included as part of a Gazette subscription.
If you’ve never taken advantage of this part of your subscription, you can activate it by visiting myaccount.thegazette.com. Once there, click the activate button, and you will be prompted to look up your account and get access unlocked.
If you have trouble, our customer care team can walk you through the process and resolve issues. They can be reached at (319) 398-8333.
Sign up for newsletters and alerts
Just because news may happen late doesn’t mean we won’t be covering it. We will be working to include late news in our newsletters and also will be working with improved alert notifications off thegazette.com. You can sign up for newsletters at thegazette.com/newsletters.
We’ve also enabled a system to increase push notifications to you on your desktop and select mobile devices. You can begin receiving these notifications by choosing “enable” on the notification question when you visit thegazette.com.
The kickoff of high school football this week will require us to approach the season differently.
We’ll be creating multiple pages of coverage from area high school games that will be included as part of each Saturday’s edition in the Green Gazette during the season. These pages will include additional photos and coverage of the games you’ve gotten used to.
We’ll be testing these late sections as a coverage strategy for late events going forward. For now, we’re committing to the fall sports season but will look at adding this for other major late news events.
The Gazette’s sports team also will broadcast a recap of area football games at 11 p.m. on The Gazette’s Prep Sports Facebook channel. This broadcast will include scores and recaps from Friday’s slate of games.
The show also will be made available in The Gazette’s prep sports newsletter, which will increase in frequency to three times per week during the fall season. I encourage prep sports fans to subscribe to the newsletter to get all of this information delivered to your inbox.
Newspaper starts, stops deadline adjusting
The next-day deadline for letting us know about newspaper starts, stops or vacations is also moving up.
Any next-day changes must be received by 2 p.m. Monday though Friday and by 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sunday and holidays.
The time change needs to be adjusted because of the earlier newspaper printing time and the number of tasks that must be completed as part of the daily printing process.
Stay in touch
Let us know how we’re doing or any ideas you have for improving your daily newspaper and website. We appreciate your loyalty and your attention.
You can email me or any of our editors — listed at thegazette.com/customer-care/newsroom — or by calling the newsroom at (319) 398-8313.
Thanks for reading.