Archived Story

Michael Bennett: A perfect storm of ailing equipment

Published 10:33pm Wednesday, May 2, 2012

There is no such thing as publisher’s school, but if there were, I can assure you it would not have prepared me for what I have faced over the last two weeks.

Hold on — a driver is trying to deliver inserts for Rite Aid and the dock plate will not open and he cannot get them off of his truck.

My handy advertising salesman Dan Leversen helped the driver and myself successfully pry the plate open.  That was ironic as my column this week could be titled, “It feels like everything is broken.” I had to walk away from my column to go out back for a 15-minute interruption.

While I’m not looking for pity, I figured I would give you a window into the distractions we have faced at the Leader over the last couple of weeks.

The roof has been leaking and our staff has had to dodge the rain buckets in the office. An expensive replacement roof will be installed in a week. That problem will be solved.

Our imagesetter has been plaguing us for weeks. And a couple of weeks ago it died. An imagesetter produces film that allows us to make plates to go on the printing press to publish our newspapers. Without an imagesetter, there is no newspaper. We got a replacement from a sister newspaper in Ohio, although it only accommodates one size of newspaper that we print.  Long story short, we had to change sizes and nearly ran out of newsprint. The shipment arrived Wednesday. There is more to this story but I won’t bore you with all of the stressful details.

I got a call last week at night that an important bolt broke on the press and they could not get it out and replaced. Translation — how are we going to print tonight’s Star and Daily News? Pressman Levar Collins was able to rig a temporary fix. The next day, I learned that our receptionist Deb Schoner’s husband, Rick, was a machinist, and he was able to come in and properly get the press fixed.

Sports editor Scott Novak contacted me last weekend because he could not get online. It fixed itself. We came in Monday morning to find that we were down again. Email and Web access is so important to our business in today’s world. We are dependent on connectivity. I called Comcast at 7:30 a.m. and they promised me priority service between 8 a.m. and noon, and arrived promptly at noon.

After coming back from Rotary, I found that Comcast left without properly getting us connected. Advertising Jill-of-all-trades Mary Cooper’s husband, Dennis, happens to be an IT pro who has helped us in the past. The poor guy showed up after work and stayed until 11:30 Monday night. Everything was fixed, except our systems needed for subscriptions and advertising placement.

That special box to correct the problem will be here by Monday, but we figured out a work-around.

My thanks go out to the significant others of my staff that have come to our rescue lately. Here’s hoping I can get back to my real job — that of trying to produce quality print and online products for our readers and advertisers.

EXPOsing Greatness business expo

• 4 to 7:30 p.m. (seminars noon to 5:55 p.m.) Wednesday
• Seminars, networking and local vendors
• Free admission
• Lake Michigan College Bertrand Crossing, intersection of U.S. Highway 12 and U.S. 31, Niles
• 683-1833

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