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Korrie Wenzel: Color influences the soul, but also the Herald

Today's print edition of the Grand Forks Herald has a different order than usual, due to a consolidation of printing throughout our parent company's northern footprint. With a new place to print comes a different press – and all presses are not created equal.

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Korrie Wenzel is publisher of the Grand Forks Herald.

“Color is a power which directly influences the soul.” So said abstract artist Wassily Kandinsky, who grew up in Russia and died in France in 1944. For the record, I only know that because I Googled it.

Likewise, color is a power that directly influences a printing press and, therefore, today’s edition of the Herald. As announced last month , the Herald now is being printed in Detroit Lakes, Minn., a measure that consolidates printing within Forum Communications Co. to five print plants in three states, including Detroit Lakes, Duluth and Brainerd in Minnesota; Sioux Falls, S.D., and a commercial plant in Fargo. The Fargo plant isn’t outfitted to print newspapers.

Moving to Detroit Lakes this week are the Herald, the Jamestown Sun, Agweek and the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. All four previously were printed on the press in downtown Fargo, but that press facility has been closed.

No, our offices are not moving. The Herald’s employees still are based in downtown Grand Forks, although we’ve mostly been working from home during the pandemic.

But there will be some differences associated with the move. First, the deadlines for our print editions will move up another three hours or so. Generally speaking, it won’t make much difference, since a deadline of 4:30 p.m. or 1:30 p.m. is essentially the same. We’ve already made the big jump, moving from a late evening deadline to the afternoon, so this shouldn’t have a great impact. All breaking news will still be posted immediately to our website, grandforksherald.com.

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For readers, the biggest change likely will be how Herald editions will be laid out and the order of traditional pages.

Here’s the deal: All presses are not created equal. They are constructed by different companies and have varying capabilities based upon available equipment and the amount of work they must complete on a given print day. Foremost among the differences is color capability, and that’s the wrinkle with our move to print in Detroit Lakes. The press at that facility isn't worse than our previous presses, but it has different abilities with color and the pages upon which color can be used.

With that in mind, here is the plan as we make this change:

The editions will be laid out differently on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We can print two sections during a press run in Detroit Lakes. However, on the weekend, we plan to print one section (classifieds, fronted by the Northland Outdoors section) a day early to accommodate three full sections. That third section then will be inserted into the Saturday edition. For now, that doesn’t appear to be an option for the Wednesday edition.

Sports, at least on Wednesday, will be moved to a series of pages inside the "A" section. For Saturday editions, sports will be printed on the front of the "B" section. The reason for the inconsistency is, again, the decision to print Saturday’s classifieds section (which requires color throughout) a day earlier for the weekend edition. That opens up a section front for sports.

On Saturdays, our Northern View section will no longer be a section front, and instead will be moved to the inside of the "A" section. We had a choice on Saturdays: We can either run Northern View or sports on the front of the "B" section. Sports (relegated to inside pages on Wednesdays) wins the argument.

Comics will be on the back of the classifieds section, since that section will have full color throughout. It’s become very apparent that our readers appreciate their daily comics in color and, hopefully, we can continue that.

The opinion page will be moved to Page 5. That’s because the first four pages and the last four pages in a 16-page "A" section have color capabilities. And since the opinion page rarely, if ever, needs color, it’s best to move it to a page that only can be printed black and white.

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The obituaries will be placed inside the "A" section on Wednesdays, but will be behind the sports section on Saturdays. The reason: Because the obituary section is very popular with readers, our company accepts obituaries almost up until deadline, and they often accumulate quickly and without much notice. Because of the inconsistency, they require a stretch of at least two uninterrupted full pages (and sometimes three). On Saturdays going forward, that stretch can only be found in the B section.

Trust me, I get it. It’s more change for the Herald after months, perhaps a couple of years, of change. Hopefully, aside from the page configurations, this one won't be a dramatic difference.

Print plants are expensive to run, and the more printing consolidation we, and our company, can do, the better positioned we are for the future. We still plan to include all of the regular pages we have had – they’ll simply be in a different order because the new press has different capabilities than the one we were printing on.

And, putting a twist on Kandinsky’s quote, remember: Color probably directly influences the soul, but it certainly influences your local newspaper.

Korrie Wenzel has been publisher of the Grand Forks Herald since 2014.

Korrie Wenzel has been publisher of the Grand Forks Herald and Prairie Business Magazine since 2014.

He is a member of the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp. board of directors and, in the past, has served on boards for Junior Achievement, the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation, United Way, Empire Arts Center, Cornerstones Career Learning Center and Crimestoppers.


As publisher, Wenzel oversees news, advertising and business operations at the Herald, as well as the newspaper's opinion content.



Wenzel can be reached at 701-780-1103, or via Twitter via @korriewenzel.
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