Everett press cranks out Mercer Island Reporter

This week the Mercer Island Reporter staff, including the editor, reporters, advertising executive, graphic designer, office coordinator and an intern, toured the Everett Printing Facility where the Reporter is printed each week.

The group started with page review and proofing before moving to another room with large laser jet-like printers. The machines score sheets of aluminum to make the page templates, which are then put through a chemical bath and sent to the press machine for printing, said Scott Jack of the Everett Printing Facility, who explained the process.

Numerous bells rang out over a deafening hum produced by the press as ink and newsprint converged to form last Wednesday's edition. Larry Babcock, of the Everett Press, grabbed several freshly printed editions — still damp from the printing process — from the conveyor system, which carried the papers into another room for mail labeling, advertising insertion and packing.

The Reporter is one of 66 weeklies printed at the Everett press, which is owned by Sound Publishing.

Each week the facility churns out 1.7 to 2.5 million copies each week, Babcock said.

That amounts to 200-300 pounds of paper each week, he added, which is 50-percent recycled content.

"Newspapers can be recycled five times before the fibers become too short," he explained.

On the topic of "recycle, reduce, reuse," the facility recycles about 200,000 pounds of paper each month, he said.

In this day and age when the newsroom, advertisers and press are located in different buildings, or different cities in the Reporter's case, the tour provided a much needed grounding for the Mercer Island news staff, and a better appreciation for the other half of the newspaper-printing process.

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