Print may be going the way of the dinosaur but until then you can still take a tour of their massive Olympic Facility printing plant in DTLA.
The historic Los Angeles Times Building, located at 1st and Spring streets in downtown Los Angeles, opened in 1935 and at the time was the largest building in the western U.S. designed and occupied entirely as a daily newspaper publishing operation.
Gordon B. Kaufmann designed the Times Building, which won a gold medal at the 1937 Paris Exposition for its Moderne architectural style. Kaufmann’s other works include Hoover Dam on the Arizona- Nevada border and, locally, Santa Anita Park in Arcadia and the Athenaeum at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
Someone’s got to keep an eye on City Hall.
It was a family affair.
The Globe Lobby is one of the aesthetic highlights of the Times Building. Its 10-foot-high murals were painted in 1934 by Hugo Ballin, who also painted the Griffith Observatory rotunda, and represent some of the finest murals produced in Los Angeles during the 1930s.
Sagittarius of course.
NC in da house.
Otis fastened this bronze eagle on top of a high frieze of the new Times headquarters building designed by Gordon Kaufmann, proclaiming anew the credo written by his wife, Eliza: “Stand Fast, Stand Firm, Stand Sure, Stand True.”
The history of all the cameras used during the papers 133 year history.
We were gifted with Steve Lopez’s book, “The Soloist”. Those other books piled up in the background are there for the next Los Angeles Times Festival of Books coming up in April 2015.
Their state of the art studio is used for Live TV News segments. The background takes advantage of the size of the newsroom which extends a full city block.
You’ve gotta have a test kitchen if you’re writing about food.
The Los Angeles Times prints its newspapers daily, but this location is also the same place where The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, China Daily, and a number of other international newspapers print their news.
The plant is incredibly sophisticated, employing over 200 individuals as well as a state-of-the-art automated paper-changing system guided by lasers. Oh and there’s quite a few robots moving around but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a good picture of them.
…the printing area alone is about the length of 2 football fields and the total size of the entire plant is about 26 acres (most of it is used to store gigantic rolls of newspaper).
The printing presses burn through about 300 gigantor rolls of paper in a 24-hour period. That’s a lot of paper for a dying industry.
Each roll of paper weighs over 2000 lbs and costs the Times anywhere between $600-700.
After page make-up is completed in editorial, the next step is to transfer the images from the computer to an aluminum plate in the plate-making department. Each aluminum plate is coated with a chemical called “Diazo” that changes when exposed to light. Images from the computer are used to create film negatives, which are then put over the aluminum plates and exposed to ultraviolet lights. The plate picks up the image of the newspaper page from the negative, with the dark or exposed portions of the plate becoming a magnet for ink. Technology today has allowed most newspapers to skip the “negative” process. The paginated page can be transferred by laser beam directly onto the aluminum press plate.
It is the largest newspaper press in the United States.
The plate is then put on the printing press roller and inked with water and ink. The ink adheres to the proper areas (text & photos) and is washed away from the non-inked, gray areas by the water. Then a roller (called a blanket roller) will pick up the ink and transfer it to the newsprint.
This room contains six 12-unit Goss Colorliner presses. These presses can print an average of 1,000 96-page papers a minute and can handle 24 pages of full color and four pages of spot color when printing a day’s newspaper.
The aluminum plates prepared in platemaking are mounted on the printing units, from one to four pages across and on the reverse side, as well. Thus, the sheets of paper – called “webs”– are printed on both sides simultaneously. The average printing speed is about 15-25 miles per hour.
Finished with printing, the papers are then carried to the distribution area to be sorted, wrapped and shipped.
Press operators will monitor the newspapers, visually checking them for print and color quality and to see how well they have been collated and folded. They don’t stop the presses to make adjustments; they use computers to change what the presses are doing as they are running. If the paper tears – a “web break” – the press(es) will shut down automatically, and the operators must rethread the paper by hand, slowly and carefully.
Color printing requires four plates (four-color printing). This is standard color printing for the industry, both newspapers and magazines, although an art book or calendar, and some computer printers can go much higher (perhaps up to six colors).
I was surprised by how much access they allowed in the printing areas. I’ve been on a lot of other tours where they wouldn’t even allow you in the same room as the machinery but here there were no liability papers to sign and I felt like I was able to branch off from the group without it ever being an issue. I should’ve stopped the presses.
Such a sad loss. May the Jheri curl live on in heaven. JCJC = Jesus Christ Jheri Curl
I love this shit.
The real estate open house section requires a lot of color.
Once the newspapers have arrived in the shipping and delivery area, they are dropped into stackers that count the papers and create bundles of approximately 50 copies.
Each completed bundle moves along conveyor belts to a machine called a “palletizer.” This machine automatically creates a stack of papers on a wooden pallet. The pallets are then set in the area to be delivered. After the pallets of papers are wrapped in plastic to protect them, they are loaded onto Times’ trucks and transported to distribution centers throughout parts of Southern California. At distribution centers, the pallets of papers are cut open, and the various sections of the newspaper will be collated and inserts, ads, coupons and/or free giveaways (such as a packet of detergent) will be put inside the paper.
The lobby of the Olympic Printing Plant. Amazingly enough, the LA Times newspaper has not missed a single print since its founding in 1881.