While speaking about journalism, we bring up the image of an interesting but intense work, where time is the main factor to bear on mind due the great demand of information by the audience. The clues to define this job could be the press, mass media,or journalists themselves but sometimes we forget a very important element that makes journalism spread through, and it requires even more time savings than the journalism profession itself: the printing machine.
Time has changed since Gutenberg, German blacksmith (borns XV) modified the printing techniques to improve the quality of messaging, a whole array of techniques that, although have been modified by the new technologies, still are being used. But let’s take a retrospective view to the birth of the printer to comprehend this printer process of the journalism messages.
Utilization of stone to stamp is maybe the most ancient printing method. Of common use to in the antiquity of Babylon, as well as in many other villages, it was also used for religious purposes and as a replacement of signatures. The printer tools were formed by stamps and ink pads to print over clay or to be engraved into a surface.
But printer, in its more primitive way was invented in China, where the first method consisted of engravinge on clay an inverted symbol to bake it later to obtain a mobile type as a result. The mobile types are pieces, usually made of metal, prism-shaped, made of an alloy called alloy. Each one of these pieces contains a character or symbol in relief that they are also inverted. The first mobile types were created by Phi Seng, in 1041-1049. But as it was said before, it would be Johannes Gutenberg (1398-1468 aprox.) who perfected these print techniques. But the Chinese language is so symbolic that requires lots of mobile types. What Gutenberg did, so, was reproduce all the words of his language, German language, in a few mobile types.
More than just paper and ink, we could say that printer works with time. It is an untouchable tool that doesn’t wait for anyone. Until a newspaper page is not completed, can’t be printed. This is the reason that explains the constant tension that inundate the printers. This work doesn’t understand about free time. Computers are turned on all the day, receiving the latest news from all parts of the world. Printers don’t rest. The process can look easy, but beyond of usual printing procedure, we find an exhaustive succession of orders.
The first step required to begin the printing process is to receive necessary pages of the newspapers. To do that, not only journalists have to work fast, but workers of the printers have to put on the machines on time to send the copies to the respective destinations. Once the pages are sent to be printed, they are checked by computers. Pages have to have a correct order, and all the extension, called ‘spot’, have to be totally completed. It can be possible that some pages were not send on time, or they can have some mistakes. In those cases, the printer will call to the newspaper itself to verify the possible slip. When all the newspapers are finished, the pages are organized in a special order for printing. The number of pages, as well as their order are very important because they will determinate the cut of the newspaper. When the distribution of pages is ready, huge white sheets are printed with special colors. When the mock-up of newspapers are ready to be sent for printing, the colours of documents have to be converted into CMYK model (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key or Black) to be as precise as possible. It is necessary to print a metal sheet per page. Powerful and fast laser machines do this part of the work. Then, the sheets are put into a huge machine to be mixed, newly, with cyan and magenta color.
The second part of the process consists of preparing the rotary press. Huge cylinders of papers, with sizes of truck wheels, are carefully put into the machines. They will roll with an unbelievable speed, producing millions of copies which will be sent to different parts of the country. First, the technicial will put the machine on, slowing its speed, to check the quality of the copies. At the beginning, a thoughtful amount of newspapers will go directly to the bins. The main reason is that the colors are bad mixed or moved, but as they are printing more copies, the results are improving successively. Protection is something fundamental. The smell of ink is almost unbearable, and sounds of the machines is deafening. In general, the rotary press count has lots of small wheels which function is to move away the copies that hold up the printing process of the machine.
When the copies are made and the ink hasn’t finished to dry, another machine picks up the newspapers and groups them in piles. Then, workers have to tie them up and send them to a special zone of the fabric for those newspapers that are finished by the help of carriages. Newspapers will be delivered to their corresponding consignee.
Is it easy to say it, but the process of printing is a more stressed work that have to be done in just a few minutes. Newspapers are read by millions and millions of people every day, especially in the way of their works. Nevertheless, new technologies have created new ways of information that develop other forms to be informed. The usage of tools like Internet in the latest mobile phones, or the actual birth of interactive tablets have made, because of their small size and usefulness, the preferences of the most demanding consumers. Although there are people who think that newspapers are still having future for a long time, nobody is sure of when the news on paper by will be relieved in second level the virtual ones. Meanwhile, printers will continue working constantly, while everybody is sleeping and notice nothing.