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Behind the Horizon: From preflight to press

by Katy Kappele

Horizon Reporter

When the Horizon staff has edited the final proofs, the paper is sent to the Lynden Tribune for printing. Ryan Oppenwell or another member of the Tribune staff then does a “pre-flight” check on the paper. Using Adobe Acrobat, he checks for things like formatting errors, low resolution photos, and strange colors. After fixing any issues, he sends the Horizon on to the next stage of the process.

The next step is to print a color proof of the Horizon’s center spread.  A large inkjet printer accurately prints a proof of these pages. The pressmen will use this to check the quality of the paper.

A specialized machine prints one to four plates in sets of four pages on aircraft-grade aluminum.  Computer-guided lasers harden a photo-reactive chemical into stamps which will be used to print the paper. A separate plate is used for each color; cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

The lead pressman punches and bends each plate so the four separate pieces will match up for printing. They must line up exactly for clear prints.

The tower of ink and paper goes from a huge roll of news-grade paper through cyan, magenta, yellow, then black liquid ink.

The plates themselves will never touch newsprint; instead, the paper is printed on by a complex series of rubber rollers and ink.

The web-press machine is a complex mechanical system run entirely by two men, called pressmen.  There are no computers involved in the running of the web-press.

The paper, having emerged from the inky rollers, is passed through the air to dry before meeting the inner pages and being folded together.

The pressmen’s frantic job as the presses roll is to adjust knobs up and down the length of the massive web-press, making sure the ink coverage is even and the plates are aligned. They run through about a thousand copies before they produce a paper that’s good enough to send on.

The paper is joined and folded by the web-press before being cut and folded.The pressmen, in between knob and ink adjustments, run continual press-checks on quality.

The final product is inspected before being sent on.

1,200 papers are weighed, bound into bundles, and loaded onto a dolly. The Lynden Tribune delivery man delivers the Horizon after the Western Front.

The Horizon is ready for distribution around campus.


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