Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

June 14, 2012

Stop the Presses!

GloDayz campers visit The Times production facility

VALDOSTA — Students got an inside look at how graphic-design skills are used in real-world applications Wednesday when they visited the South Georgia Media Group production facility, home to The Valdosta Daily Times.

The visit was part of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College’s GloDayz (Graphics Learning Opportunity) day camp.

“This facility has the ability to pump out 30,000 papers in an hour, if the need arises,” said Newspapers in Education liaison and customer-service representative Perri Fillyaw. “Black ink is replaced every six weeks with 17,220 pounds more. We only use about 6,500 pounds per month of color ink.”

The group of campers, shy at first, perked up when they got a chance to query the facility’s staff and tour between the mechanical marvels of the offset web press. Before heading out onto the printing room floor, they stopped by the graphic design desk and explored the plate room with production manager Monte Kilcrease.

“Lasers etch images on the proof plate and then the proof plate stamps a substrate with the inverted image, essentially creating a negative,” said Kilcrease, as he held up the thin metal. “This plate goes through rapid cooling; otherwise, you burn your hand on it. And if it was worn, it’d split like a giant Pepsi can and cut through the machine’s rollers.”

Once they reached the facility’s main floor, the wide-eyed group observed the components of the press and eagerly absorbed as many of Fillyaw’s statistics and figures as possible.

“We print an average of about 30 pages per day for the VDT alone, which means we use about 77.25 miles of newsprint each day to print it,” said Fillyaw. “We produce 23,000 copies per roll. Each roll is 53,083 feet long, about 10.3 miles, and weighs 1,400 pounds.”

A torrent of questions followed the one-hour tour.

“Has the paper missed a day?” “What degrees would I need to work here?” “What are the drawbacks of running at full speed?” “How many pages are printed during quality checks?”

The production facility, which also prints editions of several other regional papers, was one of several stops that the high school students made while attending the four-day camp. The GloDayz camp offers students a chance to create graphic designs and watch as their work moved through the various stages of design and publication, according to Wiregrass representatives.

“The GloDayz camp gives student a short internship in graphic design,” said the GloDayz camp chaperone. “They get hands-on experience in the technology. It builds a miniature foundation and sparks their interest in the field.”

The GloDayz camp features two sections. The first, which runs from June 11-14, was designed for high school students. The second section of the camp, directed towards grades six through eight, will run July 9-12, according to Wiregrass representatives.

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