Chris Klein is our Commercial Print Representative at Prairie Mountain Publishing (PMP). He moved to the commercial print division in late 2008, after starting as an ad rep in 2000 with Lehman Publications, which owned the publishing company until 2011. Media News Group is the parent company.
The papers published by PMP include the Longmont Times-Call, Loveland Reporter Herald, Boulder Daily Camera, Greeley Tribune, Fort Morgan Times, Sterling Journal Advocate, Canyon City Daily Record, Broomfield Enterprise, Colorado Daily, Burlington Record, Brush News Tribune, Akron News-Reporter, Julesburg Advocate, Lamar Ledger, Estes Park Trail Gazette, Loveland Weekly, and CO Hometown Weekly.
The Mountain-Ear has been printing with PMP for 10 years. It takes approximately two hours for The Mountain-Ear to go through the press process from plate, to press, to bundle.
You can get a good idea of how much paper PMP deals with when you realize that they load a trailer-full of paper every three to four weeks to be sold, recycled, and repurposed. All of the newsprint at PMP uses up to 20% of post-consumer waste.
The only press that PMP owns is in Berthoud. It was installed in 2009. The press in Burlington, Colorado, owned by PMP closed in November. and Signature Offset (another company in Metro Denver), will close at the end of January. The Berthoud press remains viable, with more and more work shifting to the northern Colorado town as more Metro presses close.
Although staffing at PMP has remained the same during Covid, the pandemic has led to a few lost publications in the region. Some have reinvented themselves from tabloids to magazines. Klein says, “All of the area recreation guides halted printing while there was little to no tourist activity. All but one are now back to printing and mailing to their respective communities.”
PMP has seen a substantial increase in the cost of newsprint since January 2021. Of necessity, the rising cost of supplies is passed along to each print customer.
Logging and therefore papermaking has been strongly affected by Covid. Multiple newsprint mills shut down and have not or will not reopen. Even so, there is currently a high demand for newsprint. What there is comes from the Pacific Northwest, adding transportation costs. A lot of the paper comes by rail car to the plant, while some comes by truck.
Another result of the pandemic: on top of an increase in the cost of newsprint, PMP has seen shipping delays on pretty much everything, including ink, paper, and parts for the press. Complicating things more is the fact that China is buying American wood pulp to shore up their diminishing pulp inventories, which in turn creates a higher demand and drives up costs.
Maintaining viable local newspapers is becoming more difficult, but Chris Klein, PMP, and The Mountain-Ear are all committed to keeping local journalism alive.
Despite the hit to the print industry this year, PMP is printing and delivering dozens of local publications each week. Including our beloved copy of The Mountain-Ear.
Thanks Chris Klein, for the tour, the answered questions and sharing your knowledge with us! Thanks for being one of the many spokes in the wheel that makes The Mountain-Ear possible each week!