Behind the printing of Our Coast

Our Coast photo The 2015 edition of Our Coast magazine came out Feb. 25.

Along with my weekly Coast Weekend duties, I’m also in charge of Our Coast, the annual regional travel magazine published by The Daily Astorian and Chinook Observer.

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll have noticed the magazine was inserted in both papers last week. If not, you can find a copy at local hotels, restaurants, visitor centers, and at

We print our coastal newspapers on the press in our Astoria building. But we have Our Coast magazine printed in Portland by a company called Journal Graphics.

Recently, I got the chance to tour Journal Graphics. When I studied journalism at the University of Oregon, my emphasis was in magazines — so seeing inside a leading Pacific Northwest commercial printer was fascinating.

Journal Graphics got its start as the Daily Journal of Commerce newspaper in 1925. In 1937, the company entered commercial printing. Today it prints a wide range of publications: maps, brochures and dozens of magazines, including Hawaiian Luxury Magazine, Alaska Airlines Magazine, Montana Bride, and the closer-to-home Portland Monthly, Seattle Monthly and Eugene Magazine.

Ron Dey, vice president of sales, was my tour guide. He showed me the customer service and prepress departments.

Then we entered the pressroom. Journal Graphics owns three presses. Each is a heatset press, which means the ink on the page dries quickly under a heater, in comparison to a coldset press, where the ink dries through ordinary evaporation and absorption into the paper. Ink drying so rapidly has the advantage of providing extra crisp lines and bright colors.

Each of the presses was working during my tour. Paper traveled 30 mph through the Sunday 2000 press.

We moved on to the bindery department, which operates on a 24/7 schedule. There are generally two ways to bind a magazine. Our Coast has a perfect binding: Adhesive is applied to gathered pages, which results in a flat, rectangular spine. The other kind of binding is called the saddle-stitch: Folded pages are gathered together and wire staples secure them together, resulting in a flat, folded spine.

Journal Graphics has two perfect binder machines; one is 45 years old. The company’s newest saddle stitcher, the SP2200, is just one year old.

“Here’s our forest,” Dey said, as we neared a large room on the edge of the warehouse. It housed huge cylinders of paper — $3 million worth. Each role is 5 miles long, and one press can run through a roll in 14 minutes. Suffice it to say, they go through a lot of paper.

But that’s not to say they aren’t environmentally conscious. On the contrary, Dey said Journal Graphics strives to minimize its environmental impact. Newer technologies allow for more accuracy and less paper waste; and all scraps are compressed and hauled to the nearby recycler.

I left my tour with an armful of magazines and a great appreciation for all the moving parts that put together Our Coast.

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