Printing may change, but heart remains in Merced

Eric Johnston
Eric Johnston

Over the course of the past few years, the Merced Sun-Star has shared with you stories of survival -- how companies and residents of our community have worked to weather our economic depression. From oppressive unemployment to the challenges in finding adequate health care to a seemingly endless stream of foreclosures, the Sun-Star has done our best to provide our readers with the information necessary to help you and your family.

Recently our decision to begin printing the Sun-Star at The Fresno Bee -- starting with the Tuesday, June 7 edition -- has become a story in itself. Historically, newspapers have worked within a unique business model. Not only did we put reporters and salespeople into the field, but we also managed the printing, packaging, marketing, technology, distribution and customer service elements of our operation. With few exceptions, this was the model of the industry. Each newspaper had localized operations that were entirely self-contained; unfortunately, this structure is one that doesn’t meet the needs or standards of today’s global workplace environment. It is our responsibility to adequately align ourselves to remain competitive, strong and efficient in the coming decades. While it is logical to assume that the economic depression that continues its stranglehold on our region was the sole reason for changes in our printing, that isn’t entirely the case. Technological advances within the past few years — most notably the transition to digital page design — allows for greater production mobility. For decades each newspaper page was created through a tedious cut-and-paste process, work that is now done digitally, allowing pages to be distributed for printing and -- coming soon to the Sun-Star -- electronic devices.

A factor in this decision was also environmental. The presses in Fresno use a newer printing technology that reduces the amount of ink and paper used during the printing process. As a result, the ink is more effectively absorbed into the newspaper page, resulting in less use and less ink on your hands after reading the paper.

Regardless of where or how we print this newspaper, the most important message is this — we are dedicated to continuing to provide our readers in the greater Merced region with news and information that you can only find in the Sun-Star.

As we noted in an editorial last week, Merced is at a critical point in its future. With the ongoing development of UC Merced and the need for our community to do everything possible to attract new industry and jobs to the region, the Merced Sun-Star will be here.

We will continue to report the efforts of local school districts to better educate our students and the results of local law enforcement projects intended to make Merced a safer place to live. Our reporters will share with you the things that will impact your access to health care and they will ask the questions that you deserve to know the answers to. We will continue to serve as a watchdog for our community and be a strong advocate for those things which will better your daily life.

The heart of the Merced Sun-Star is more than the iron of our presses — it is even more than the physical newspaper that is delivered to your door.

The heart of the Sun-Star are the people, the voices and the issues that we share with you each and every day, and to that we commit our ongoing dedication and passion.