The Star-Advertiser’s woes with its expensive, high-tech printing plant just seem to be going on and on.
This must be a huge blow. The computerized printing operation was built by Gannett for more than $75 million, and was a prize part of the buyout and merger with the old Star-Bulletin.
But, it turns out, there “high tech” can be too high.
At first, the problem was treated in low key fashion.
Here’s the first notice: “”Because of production delays, this morning’s Star-Advertiser will be delivered later than normal and will be a partial edition in certain areas.”
A reader emailed to say that his “partial edition” lacked a front page.
Early Monday morning, a follow-up explanation posted by Frank Bridgewater said that the problems were expected to persist on “subsequent days…until the press problems are resolved.”
And much of Monday’s paper, such as it was, came from the company’s press on the Big Island.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser was unable to print most complete copies of the Sunday edition because of problems with the computers that operate the printing press.
Monday’s paper is smaller than our usual papers, and subsequent days also will have fewer pages until the press problems are resolved. These papers will not include some features that normally appear. Monday’s paper was printed on the West Hawaii Today press on Hawaii island.
Bridgewater’s note also said the full newspaper would be available online.
But yesterday I received this email from a reader describing his experience.
So like everyone else yesterday (Sunday) I only received 1/2 the paper, but I went on line and had the whole edition.
Today (Monday) I received the abbreviated version along with the rest of Sunday’s paper. So I go online, using the papers app, and all I see is what was delivered. So I call the paper and after a 5 minute wait talk to some guy who’s out at the press. He tell’s me that’s all there is, period. I ask him why not the whole paper on line? And I get the same answer. Nothing more was produced-everyone gets the same thing. I don’t get mad at this guy because obviously he’s not the one calling the shots.
Issues with the Kapolei press limited its production capability, so Sunday and Monday Star-Advertisers also were printed on Maui and the Big Island. Newspapers from the neighbor islands did not arrive on Oahu until 8 a.m. after their delivery was interrupted when they were grounded due to the storm. The Maui flight carried 40,000 Sunday papers, which will be delivered to subscribers Tuesday who did not receive complete papers Sunday, and the flight from Hawaii Island had Monday Star-Advertisers.
Then, according to KHON on Monday evening, it’s looking like the problems are far from over.
Here’s part of their story.
Officials at the Star-Advertiser say this problem has cost them half a million dollars.
Kennedy said they spent hours on the phone with the machine’s manufacturer in Germany, but didn’t get the problem fixed, so they’re hoping to fly in an expert from Australia to help.
“We’re going to be okay until we have to print Sunday,” he said. “We’ll have to see how it goes. Hopefully, we can get everything up and running,”
Kennedy couldn’t give any guarantee that the upcoming Sunday edition will come out as usual. There are also issues if this week’s edition of Midweek, another property of Oahu Publications, will be printed this week.
The newspaper also prints Midweek, and I learned officials don’t know how they will handle that this week.
It’s hard to imagine the havoc this is wreaking with their business operations, which will have to account for ads not run, newspapers not delivered, etc., etc. And how about the private jobs the high capacity press was also contracted to churn out?
And if the press guy’s statement above was correct, the staff that would normally be churning out a full newspaper daily are not, well, not doing that.