Readers' Representative Journal

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Changing the presses at The Times

January 16, 2008 | 11:36 am

The question came on Tuesday from Arman Afagh of Riverside, who looked at the weather page and asked why it listed the temperatures of fewer national and international cities than usual. Wrote Afagh, "As far as I can tell, the physical space of the weather page itself is not significantly different."

The answer lies in a memo sent out Monday by Senior Vice President of Operations Russ Newton: Tuesday was the first day of "a yearlong process to slightly narrow the width of our paper. The total reduction is a half-inch, taking each page from the current 11½ inches to 11, which will bring The Times in line with industry standards."

In other words, the presses used by The Times will be reconfigured over the next 12 months to handle paper that is narrower in width. (The changeover is to reduce newsprint expenses.) That means that some sections will be printed using the new press configurations that produce smaller-width papers, while other sections will continue to be printed on the presses that still use the wider paper. However, in anticipation of the transition to the newly reconfigured presses, the columns on each page have already been narrowed in width.

Starting Thursday and continuing over the next several months, one press at time will convert to printing sections on the narrower paper. Readers might notice that some sections are smaller in width than others.

Overall, this reduction will not have major impact on news space, say editors. Some agate listings will be affected: The weather page will include 21 fewer cities in its U.S. and international temperature listings; in the stock tables in Business, the year-to-date percentage changes in prices will appear now only on Sundays. [Update: 10 of those cities are back as of Jan. 25. Reappearing are six U.S. cities -- Columbia, S.C.; Medford, Ore.; Pueblo, Colo.; San Antonio; Springfield, Mo.; and Tallahassee. Also part of the list again are four worldwide cities -- Brussels; Edinburgh; Helsinki; and Regina. As for why there's room now for those cities: In redesigning the page, editors initially miscalculated what could fit.]

The font size remains the same. [Update: That's true for the rest of the newspaper, but Michael Whitley, the assistant managing editor who oversees design and graphics, says that the size of the type was slightly increased on the Business stock tables.]