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Old Posted Dec 29, 2005, 5:16 PM
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Ground broken for press plant -- New site will print Advocate
The Baton Rouge Advocate

Capital City Press, the publisher of The Advocate, broke ground Tuesday on a $60 million printing facility off of Siegen Lane, which will improve the readability of the paper, the sharpness of photos and allow for more zoned editions targeted to specific areas.

"This is truly a milestone in the history of Capital City Press," President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Manship said. "The new facility will be a quantum leap in printing, putting together and distribution of the newspaper."

The 120,000-square-foot plant, which will open in August-September 2006, will be at 10715 Reiger Road, between Interstate 10 and the Super Target store. The project is being financed through a revolving line of credit with JP Morgan Chase/Bank One.

"This will be one of the finest printing facilities in the world, with one of the finest presses in the world," said Douglas Manship Jr., publisher of The Advocate.

He said the new seven-tower press, made by MAN Roland of Germany, will allow the newspaper to print three times faster and with more color. The increased speed means subscribers will get The Advocate earlier.

"You've got people that go to work at 6 a.m.," he said. "If they don't get the paper before they go to work, you're going to lose that reader."

The press also will give the newspaper more flexibility to zone editions, for example, it already produces editions targeted specifically to Ascension Parish and the Acadiana area.

The Advocate is printed on two, 12-unit 1950s-era letterpresses at a plant on Bluebonnet Boulevard, across from the Mall of Louisiana. The Bluebonnet plant cannot accomodate a new press.

The new press will take The Advocate from a 55-inch web to a 50-inch web, which means pages will decrease slightly in overall size. This is in line with other newspapers, which have moved over the past several years to the 50-inch web that has become a standard to which advertisers are accustomed.

The smaller Advocate will allow Capital City Press to reduce costs on paper, ink and other supplies.

Despite the new size of the newspaper, Douglas Manship Jr. said the change will not affect the quality of news and information published. He also said the recent redesign of the newspaper to a cleaner, more-modern look was done with the new press and 50-inch web size in mind and that few design changes will be required.

The new press is set to arrive in Baton Rouge on April 23.

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