The mighty roar of The News press as it begins its run each afternoon is a familiar sound to thousands of persons who have passed by the building at press time, or who have made visits to the plant.
Virtually unknown to the general public, however, is the vast amount of preparation work which must ibe completed under rigid time limitations before the main switches are thrown and the freshly-printed newspapers roll off the presses.
In the composing room, which we visited yesterday as part of our imaginary tour of The News plant in observance of National Newspaper Week, the columns of type and pictures were locked into flat page forms.
At this stage, a moist fiber "mat" is placed over the lead type and the two are fed together through a pair of rollers so that the type impressions are molded on the "mat." The mat is then dropped into a chute to the stereotype foundry where it is used as a mold for the curved metal plates used on the presses. This plate therefore is a duplicate of the original page form assembled in the composing room, except that the form was flat and the stereotype plate is curved. Two such plates make a complete circle on the press.
After being molded, the plates are sent to a finishing machine where surplus metal at the top and bottom are trimmed off and the plate shaved to an even thickness and automatically cooled.
Then the plates are fastened to the big Hoe Quad press which can print, cut, fold and deliver newspapers containing as many as 32 pages.
In the case of special editions such as this year's V-E edition, in which more than 32 pages are required, separate runs must be made for the additional sections and all sections are then "collated" by hand.
Getting back to the stereotype department, it has many other functions in addition to producing the plates for the press. This unit casts lead plates of world news pictures, supplied in mat form by NEA Service, a national picture syndicate. It produces similar plates of advertising layouts, and makes all the type and column rules used in the newspaper.
As every reader knows, not all the pictures used in The News come in mat form from syndicates. Local pictures, produced by the paper's own photographic staff, have a prominent place in the newspaper. The story of the pictorial department was touched upon lightly in our visit to the editorial rooms earlier this week.
The News maintains its own engraving department on the fourth floor of the plant. There pictures produced by News photographers or received from other sources such as the Army and Navy public relations offices, are transformed into metal engravings so that they will "print" in the paper just like type.
This one-man department functions so efficiently that an important picture received late in the morning is processed for reproduction in the same day's issue of the newspaper.