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    Russell Viers is a Transition Expert in the publishing world. Since 1997 he has helped newspapers and magazines adapt to changes in the industry. Read more...

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  • Archive for March, 2009

    What’s the Paper Worth

    Friday, March 13th, 2009

    I was in London for a week and decided to take the opportunity to do a very unscientific study into the value of a newspaper.

    London is the perfect setting for this because there are so many papers to choose from including tabloids, broadsheets, conservative, splashy, free and paid.

    So the goal of the study was simple: is a newspaper that costs 50p: A) better than a free paper and B) better enough to be worth 50p.

    My study did not take into account fluctuation in currency exchange, but keep in mind that not long ago that 50p was worth $1USD. As I type this it’s worth 70.2¢ USD. So I’m sure statisticians would add a curve or something important onto the results…I didn’t.

    So my study began on The Tube (Underground) by picking up the free papers and reading them along my way. The two free papers in the study were The Metro, where you pick them up off a stand, and thelondonpaper, which is handed to you by people wearing purple hats as you pass on the street.

    While riding along the rails, I was able to consume both papers in entirety (two different times, one paper each). They are both full of fluff that may mildly amuse and interest. Now I’m not a news snob. I personally don’t like reading politics, economics, etc., but living in such times, I think it’s important to have at least a conversational knowledge of both. Instead, from both papers I found out how the credit crunch is making us fatter, Ray Parker, Jr. is afraid of the dark and Britney Spears did something stupid…again.

    Of the two, I’ll give The Metro credit for have much more content and trying harder to be more than Entertainment Tonight in print. The issues I picked up had a wide range of stories, although not in-depth, and gave a lot of information in a tight package.

    Now to part two of the study, paying for a paper.

    Keep in mind I’m really too lazy to be much of a scientist, so my study only went as far as what was convenient for me. Therefore, I only studied papers I could pick up in the course of my normal walk…on the street.

    The two paid papers in the study were The Evening Standard and The Independent. Both are tabloid sized, just like the free papers reviewed, but obviously a little more traditional in design and content.

    As I read The Evening Standard, it really struck me how much better the writing was. Not just in style, but also depth. I also found the editorials to be very balanced, informed and enjoyable to read. In the end, when I turned over the last page, I found it to be a good read and well worth my money, whether $1 or 70.2¢.

    I grabbed The Independent on my last afternoon in London. I have to admit that the only reason I picked it up over a different title is that I was on Whitechapel Street trying to see where Jack the Ripper did his dirty deeds and I figured the guy selling the newspaper on the corner would know. As I wandered over to his stand, I fumbled about for my 50p, handed it over and asked “which way to find the area of the Whitechapel Murders.”

    He handed me the paper and pointed across the corner, explaining that most of the murders were over there, but one was back the other way. “Head that way and turn left….”

    With The Independent under my arm, my first priority was wandering around until I could say, for sure, I had been where Saucy Jack had been. After a couple of hours of aimless meandering, I headed back to Liverpool St. Station to catch the train to the airport. It was only then that I sat down at a Costa Coffee and opened the paper.

    What a great read…really. There were so many stories that interested me that I actually brought the paper home. Now you may think this is a triviality…it’s not. I was flying Ryanair home, and if you know anything about this airline, you’ll know they are considering charging a Pound to use the onboard bathrooms. Really. These are the people that charge you 1€ for the ticket, then make it up on luggage and overweight carry-ons. I knew I was at risk of paying a lot more than 50p for this paper when all was said and done.

    Luckily, no extra charges were incurred, I successfully brought the paper home and finished reading it this morning. There were a few well-written stories about Police Constable Stephen Carroll who was murdered in Ireland by IRA wannabes. There were stories about hard topics as well as human-interest stories like the computer software company that has released software that allows you to recreate the exact sound of The Beatles while recording at Abbey Road Studios. As the story goes, this company painstakingly recorded the exact instruments they used, and recreated the technology of the day so you can create music the same way the Fab Four did. Cool.

    I enjoyed it so much that if I lived in London, this would have to be a regular pick-up for me…The Independent every day.

    In the end, I don’t think my study has enough heft to be a published work…merely a short blog article. But the results are clear:

    A) The papers that charged were better papers, in content, quality of writing, originality and design than the free ones.

    B) The papers that charged were well worth the 50p paid and I would do it again.

    So as you seek out news in your community, remember that quality journalism comes with a price tag. It costs money to have investigative reporters uncovering Watergate and finding Chandra Levy’s killer. It costs money for good writing and good photographs.

    In conclusion I ask a question of all publishers who might read this article: Is every issue of your newspaper worth 50p (or your local equivelant)?

    Uploading Yearbook Pages to Walsworth

    Thursday, March 12th, 2009

    Before exporting PDFs that will ultimately be submitted to Walsworth for printing, you should first make sure your computer is set up properly. Refer to previous blog article: Please note that this article is VERY boring and many people have complained about falling asleep halfway through and not getting it all done. My apologies in advance.

    So now you have exported a bunch of PDFs and are wondering what to do with them. You’ll upload them to Walsworth Publishing using something known as the world wide web (often referred to as www).

    Before you begin, you’ll need to get some information from me directly

    Job Number: example 9-39XXX-0

    username: example rname

    password: example topsecret

    So before we get too far into the upload process, let’s make sure we’re clear on the file naming process…very important. Uploading a 300 page book as 100 PDFs named PDF1, PDF2, PDF3, etc. would not be very cool, lemme tell ya. You’ll want to follow a more organized naming convention that really helps Walsworth process your files correctly, speeding up the process and promising you a better book.

    Please name the PDFs as follows:

    If these are the first submission of a page, we want you to name them d(job number)_(page or pages) so it would look something like this: d9-39123_4-55.pdf for multiple page PDFs or d9-39013_2-2.pdf for a single page PDF. If you use the Book Feature of InDesign, and the pages in the PDF are not consecutive, you can even do d9-_38123_4-10_14-19_23-37.pdf. This may sound like extra work, but when dealing with as many pages as Walsworth does every day, this makes a difference.

    If you are going to send in a revision to a page you’ve already uploaded, you would name it just like above, but put rv_ in front so we know it will replace the previously submitted page(s). It would look like rv_d8-39013_2-2.pdf.

    When you are ready to submit pages you will use any internet browser and go to

    You will be asked to log in, in which case you will enter your username and password. If you enter the wrong information, it will reformat your hard drive and you will lose everything, causing you to spend hours reloading all your software and hope you backed up your files. Not really. If you don’t have the information just contact me and I’ll get it to you.

    Once logged in, you will see a job already created for you with your job number and some other catchy little phrase I add in there like Yearbook 2009. So it might look like this: 9-39123-0 Yearbook 2009. See…it’s catchy.

    Click on this job, which is in blue and is the link to where you need to be to upload files.

    In this next window, you’ll see a button cleverly named Upload Files. I’ll not insult your intelligence by telling you to push it.

    When you click the Upload button to submit files, you will be asked to name your submission in a box titled Upload Name. If your book is all color or all black and white, naming the submission with a number first, like 1, with the date and page numbers in the upload would be great. If your book is mixed, you should name them something like submit color 1 12/12/07 or submit b&w 1 12/12/07 and include the page number range. This allows us to see how you want your files RIPed and the date and what number submission it is.

    You will then either drag the PDFs into the window or click the icon of the page with the green plus next to it and browse your computer for them. After you have all the PDFs in that window, you’ll click Upload and let your computer do its thing.

    Please DO NOT submit files to the wpcdirect site that you want me to evaluate. I will have you upload them elsewhere…I don’t want to risk any test pages getting into production.

    Now that Walsworth has the PDFs, they will begin processing them and notify you when they are ready to proof online.

    I’m sure there will be questions as you get into it. Feel free to email or call me anytime.