Thursday, November 15, 2012

Photo Essay: Inside the Los Angeles Times, From Written to Printed

Living in LA, naturally the LA Times is a big part of the LA experience. You can't avoid it. Whether it's in its physical form (whose cover I have been lucky enough to grace) or its digital form, it is still a relevant and necessary part of LA life.

The Los Angeles Times tour - which occurs monthly in conjunction with the Downtown Artwalk - is the last of the major newspaper public tours in the country, and so it feels like a special experience.



But when you take a tour of...



... its editorial offices (upstairs from its lovely Art Deco "globe" lobby and elevator bank)...





...with its mechanical paper filing system...





...you hear things like "paper is good" and a certain attempted justification at its existence. Perhaps printed newspapers will one day fade into obsolescence, but for now, it's still big business.



Even if it's a bit smaller than it's been before.



Having worked as a teen reporter in high school and edited my college newspaper, I have a fondness for journalism, and was curious to see how a real newspaper (something bigger than the Syracuse Herald-Journal or Post-Standard or Herald-American, or the Colgate Maroon-News) worked.



At the Olympic Facility printing plant, there is a public lobby with interpretive historical exhibits (many outdated since the initial construction of the building in the early '90s)...



...and a big window looking into where the ink is laid onto spools of paper.



Lucky for us, we got to the other side of the window, up close and personal with the paper rolls themselves, and the robots that carry them.



You can't imagine how much paper there is there. The rolls tower above and scoot on past.



The air smells of paper...



...all of which is inspected, some of which is damaged (by moisture or impact)...



...and must be discarded.





Robots rule the plant, and will soon be receiving an upgrade. The new robots lie in wait.



On the tours, you get to see nearly everything...



...from heavy machinery...







...to the ink room...



...to tomorrow's news...



...and the finished papers, ready for delivery.



For more on the robots, the spinning paper rolls, and the printing process, watch the video from the printing plant tour:



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