A letter to our readers and advertisers:

This is the last newspaper the Times-Herald will print on its own presses, ending a nearly 150-year tradition.

Beginning Wednesday, the Opelika-Auburn News production plant will begin printing our newspaper.

The obvious question is why? The answer comes down to two intricately linked issues: cost and quality.

Our presses are getting old and maintaining them is becoming more and more expensive. We are in a Catch-22 because currently we only print our newspaper, which only takes about an hour to run. Therefore we have a huge investment that just sits there most of the time.

But to get more printing business, we would have to invest a lot of money to bring our presses up to where they need to be.

More and more newspapers, especially smaller ones like ourselves, are outsourcing their printing and inserting to regional printing plants like the Opelika operation. That facility is actually its own business entity, as they print other smaller papers as well.

It’s just cost effective for us to shift our printing operations.

The second issue is quality. Our older presses just can’t get the quality our readers and advertisers deserve. Opelika, which has very modern presses, can. Our presses are much more “hands on,” Opelika’s are almost completely computerized.

Business reporter Clay Neely has an accompanying story about the Opelika operation. We wanted you to see and understand the differences.

Another advantage is the Opelika plant has more than double our capacity. We can only print eight pages of color in a single run; they can print 16. This opens up more potential for advertisers who want color ads.

This has not been an easy decision. William Thomasson, our president, has been involved in printing the NTH for more than 50 years. We are working diligently to help find jobs for those who are leaving us with the closure of our printing warehouse.

It is, however, time.

We will have kinks to work through as our graphic artists and photographers tweak color settings to adapt to the new press settings. Please bear with us.

But the end result will be a much better product for you, our readers and advertisers. And that it what it is all about.

Thank you for your continued support of your community newspaper.

John A. Winters 


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