Producing The Breeze is a team effort
For six decades — and counting — The Cape Coral Breeze has been the Cape’s source of local news.
From small business milestones to your kid’s spelling bee win, The Breeze has been residents’ place to go to for community news they can’t find anywhere else.
From editing, reporting, and tracking down stories, to printing and advertising, there is a lot that goes into putting a community newspaper together.
Actually producing The Breeze — or any other print newspaper edition — is almost like a symphony.
You need a great team, good communication, and everything has to run in sync.
Among those who makes this happen on the production side are Rhonda Odum, production manager, Renee Brown, commercial printing manager, and Henry Keim, operations manager.
Once the news is gathered, the stories are written, and the newsroom team lays out the pages using design software, the production department team gears up for its final push — adding the ads it has designed or received to the computer documents and preparing individual pages for pre-press.
“We spend most of the week designing ads and then import the finished work into the news document pages where we have reserved space for each ad,” said Odum, who has served in production since 1993, becoming manager of the department in 2011. “It’s exciting to see the advertising component added to the pages as this completes that week’s ‘information package’ of news and advertising for our readers.”
That actually is the easy part. The more difficult aspect actually comes well in advance of the deadline layout as the graphic artists team works with Breeze sales executives and clients to design the perfect ad, one that not only conveys the advertiser’s unique message but does so in a fashion that catches the readers’ eyes.
“We take great pride in working with our advertisers to best help them develop and deliver their message, whether it is that week’s sale, specials or coupons, or a continuation of their ‘branding’ campaign,” Odum said. “This is all done locally, with our graphic artists and sales executives providing one-on-one service. They are an amazing team and they are what set The Breeze a part when it comes to helping local businesses get their message out.”
Completed pages are then proofed and sent electronically to pre-press at the Breeze Newspapers’ 35,000-square-foot commercial printing plant on Jetport Loop near I-75, which also prints all of the Breeze Newspapers’ community newspapers, magazines and more, but numerous print products from throughout the state and beyond.
The average reader may not realize what goes into printing a publication such as The Breeze twice each week. Press Manager Henry Keim provided a quick summation of a process that can actually take four hours or more from set-up to the first paper coming off the press, a behemoth piece of equipment capable of printing an entire newspaper either in a single-pass or in multiple sections, all in full color.
“Over here at Jetport it gets really busy,” Keim said. “From plating to printing to inserting to stitching magazines. Once we get electronic files in pre-press they are then put together on a template so the pages will print in order on the press. They are sent to a plate-making machine and the image is lasered onto an aluminum plate. From there, the plates are hung on press. We have six towers that have four colors per tower — cyan, magenta, yellow and black — that makes the color photos that you see in the paper. We have ink motors and registration motors to get the colors and the image set correctly and this is done from one station. The press will run a maximum of 30,000 copies per hour.”
Pre-press — taking those computer files, converting them and then outputting them on plates that will be inserted into the printing press — can take some time.
“The majority of the time is in set up,” said Brown, who has been with The Breeze Newspapers since 2005 and has served as commercial printing manager since 2012. “Once we the get press running, then it goes pretty quickly.”
The amount of setup time takes depends on the page count.
“The allotted time is two to four hours,” Brown said. “Depending on the job.
“Once we set it up and get it printed, it goes through the inserter that puts the inserts in the paper,” Brown added. “It’s a whole big, long process.”
The final production step, is, of course, getting The Breeze into the hands of readers.
The printed copies go onto skids where they stay at Jetport for pick up, head to the Post Office for paid mail distribution or are delivered to the Cape Coral office on Del Prado Boulevard to be rolled and readied for free driveway distribution, bulk business drops or newspaper rack delivery.
“This is a challenging task that can easily be interrupted by weather, vehicle problems and a number of other factors,” Circulation Manager Joe Trupo said. “Thankfully, we have a great team of independent news carriers and in-house support staff that make effective and timely delivery possible. Thanks to all of them, we are able to get our publications to readers who enjoy the content and support our local advertisers.”
Brown pointed out how important it is that The Breeze prints and distributes locally.
“That’s very important” she said. “We want to keep everything local, local, local. It’s super important to keep everything here.”
This also includes the information in the paper.
“I used to say, when I was in sales for papers, that you could go anywhere and hear about Derek Jeter hitting a home run,” Brown said. “But where would you hear about your kid’s home run?”
Despite the internet and the immediacy of online news, a print edition still means a lot to many people.
“It’s a tangible product you can hold onto,” Brown said. “If it’s a tangible story or engagement or graduation announcement, for example, people like to hold onto those types of things.
“It pulls at their heartstrings because you’re hearing about people in your own backyard.”
Community newspapers, such as The Breeze, also help residents plan their lives, she added.
“It’s a very well-respected paper,” Brown said. “People pick the paper up out of their driveways and plan their entire weekend.”
In addition to The Breeze, the Breeze Newspapers also publishes its sister publications, the Fort Myers Beach Bulletin and Fort Myers Beach Observer; the Sanibel-Captiva Islander and the Island Reporter; the Pine Island Eagle; the Lehigh Acres Citizen and North Fort Myers Living magazine as well as a number of its own magazines and specialty publications throughout the year.
As the largest commercial printer between Tampa and Miami the Breeze Newspaper’s Printing Plant produces papers for publishers not only throughout the state, but the country. Three shifts of press crews work most days of the week at the state-of-the-art, 35,000-square-foot commercial print facility at 14051 Jetport Loop, located near the Southwest Regional International Airport and I-75 exit 131 at Daniels.
“We also have capability of printing gloss papers,” Keim said of the Breeze Newspapers’ printing press. “We can glue magazines right of press and put a Post It-type note on any paper that we run. In the mailroom, we insert our papers and stitch the magazines when needed and inkjet an address on the paper for mailing. We have trucks that will deliver anywhere from here to Tampa to Orlando and Miami.”