Between the Lines The best is yet to come By David Lias
Plain Talk "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." – Mark Twain. Argentine: Bring out cha dead! Bring out cha dead! Bring out cha dead! Krad: Here's one. Daiki: I'm not dead! Argentine: What? Krad: Nothing, here's your nine gold. Daiki: But I'm not dead! Argentine: Hey, he says he's not dead! Daiki: I'm not! Argentine: He isn't? Krad: Well, he will be soon; he's getting very old. Daiki: I'm getting better! Krad: No, you're not; you'll be stone dead in a moment. Argentine: I can't take him like that, it's against regulation. Daiki: I don't want to go in the cart! Krad: Oh, don't be such a baby. Argentine: I can't take him. Daiki: I feel fine. Krad: Well, do us a favor. Argentine: I can't. Krad: He's gunna be dead in a couple of minutes; it won't be long. – From Monty Python and the Holy Grail We know about the talk around town. We've heard it. The Plain Talk is headed for oblivion, according to the naysayers, just like the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, CO, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and the Hartford (CT) Courant. I'm writing to set the record straight. The Plain Talk and Broadcaster doors are still open. We aren't going anywhere. Being in the newspaper business means you must deal with reality every day. We know the economic crisis is real. We aren't going to kid ourselves into simply ignoring it. We have felt it just as much as every other business in Vermillion. But that doesn't mean we're going anywhere. It's easy these days to know how Twain, or poor Daiki once felt. But, to be blunt: We aren't dead yet. There are at least three factors that have probably lead to a heightened amount of tongue wagging about the Plain Talk's future. The economy has been bleak. We won't argue with that. There are fewer people working at the Vermillion office. They aren't even printing from their Vermillion site any longer. Our response to these three observations is yes, yes and yes. Please keep in mind, however: We are doing our best to deal with the recession, just as you are. Fewer people are working here because they decided to do something else. The economy hasn't spurred a massive layoff of those employees by Yankton Media, Inc. In fact, unlike other newspaper companies, Yankton Media, Inc. has added new positions this year. There are exciting things in store for all of our readers. We aren't going anywhere. We are making the investment to be a viable part of the newspaper industry in southeastern South Dakota for generations to come. Yankton Media, Inc. (YMI) owns the Plain Talk, the Broadcaster, the Missouri Valley Shopper and the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan. Gary Wood, co-owner of YMI and publisher of the Press & Dakotan, made the decision last summer to raze a building that stood next door to the Yankton newspaper office. A new building, more specifically, a pressroom, has been constructed in the old building's place. A press has been purchased, installed, and should be operational by the end of March 2009. We can't wait until that press is fully functional. Along with the installation of the press, YMI has committed to converting their pre-press operation to state-of-the-art computer to plate (CtP) equipment. The CtP equipment will allow us the opportunity to do an even better job with the capabilities of the press. Better overall reproduction quality will be seen. "The new press will add tremendous capabilities. It runs approximately three times faster than either of our current presses," Gary said. "There are 12 units instead of seven units which will allow us to produce eight broadsheet pages of process color in a 24 page paper or 16 pages of process color in a 48 page tab." We could also run a 12 page broadsheet paper with all 12 process color or 24 page tab with process color on every page, Gary notes, adding that the configuration of pages and color is far better than what we currently are capable of producing. And sounding like a true publisher, Gary mentions other things that are important to those who treasure reading a newspaper. Our readers and advertisers should see better color quality and reproduction quality. The new press will greatly minimize the black smudging and color registration issues with which our pressmen must constantly battle in their operation of our current, older press in Yankton, he said. We know the news has been grim lately. We believe, however, that it is always important to keep our readers informed with facts, not innuendo. We aren't going anywhere. We will continue to focus our efforts on serving the Vermillion community. And the best is yet to come.