ETN presses stop Sunday night
Barring some last minute second thoughts or major technology glitch, the big Goss presses at West 12th and Sassafras will go silent late Sunday night as the Times Publishing Co. outsources the printing and packaging of the daily newspaper to the Butler Eagle, effective Monday.
If Friday morning’s (8/19) edition is any indication, get ready for stale news on your doorstep or vending machine. The printing arrangement with presses two hours away forces an early deadline in the news room. This really hurts when it comes to sports. Forget about missing west coast scores, the ETN will have a hard time covering any game past 10:30 or 11:00 PM.
Case in point is Thursday night’s Eagles vs. Steelers preseason contest; the battle for Pennsylvania bragging rights. The game was over and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had a full story up on their website by 11:14 PM, ten minutes before the late night TV sportscasts. Hours later, when you picked up the Friday morning Erie paper, a scan of the sports section resulted in only this:
Thursday’s Eagles-Steelers game did not finish before press time. For a game report, go to GoErie.com/sports.
Really? Quarter after 11 is past deadline?
Ugh. I know newspapers across the country are in pain, and the Erie paper has been doing better than most through innovative and creative ideas, but this outsourcing of the presses and the consequential diminishing of the ink-on-paper product is a significant step backwards.
Of course the real tragedy lies in the loss of 40 family sustaining skilled-labor jobs. The irony remains that the Erie Times was created by pressmen involved in a labor dispute with their former employer. Now, at the end of a five-year labor contract with today’s pressmen no renewal was offered. They’ll hit the big red button on the Goss for the final time this weekend then hit the streets.
Yes, indeed, the future is in the digital online streams. We talk about it everyday. But for now, don’t the 52,000 daily paying purchasers of the NEWSPAPER and all those advertisers deserve better than this sad state of affairs?