The heavy production costs of newspapers and periodicals continue to encourage publishers to look for ways of reducing these costs, often by using advanced computer system to control editing and production processes. The “Front end” or “single stroking” system, for example, allows journalists or advertising staff to input “copy” directly into video terminal, and then to transform it automatically into computer-set columns of type. Although it is possible for these columns to be assembled electronically on a page-sized screen, turned into a full page, and made automatically into a plate ready for transfer to the printing press, at present very few such systems are in operation. Most involve the production of bromides from the computer setting; there are then pasted up into columns before being places in a plate –making machine. The most advanced system presents opportunities for reorganisation, which have implications throughout a newspaper office and may give rise to industrial relations problems. Generally, and most recently in the case of national newspapers, the introduction of computerised system has led to substantial reduction in workforces, particularly, but not solely, among print workers. All the national newspapers use computer technology, and its use in the provincial press, which has generally led the way in adopting news techniques, is widespread. Journalists key articles directly into, and edit them on, computer terminals; colour pictures and graphics are entered into the same system electronically. Where printing plants are at some distance from editorial offices, pages are sent for printing by fax machine from typesetter to print plant. Other technological development include the use of full-colour printing, and a switch from traditional letterpress printing to the web-offset plastic-plate processes. News International, publisher of the three daily and two Sunday papers, has at its London Docklands headquarters more than 500 computer terminals – one of the largest system installed at one time anywhere in the world. The “Financial Times” opened a new printing plants in Dockland in 1988 with about 200 production workers, compared with the 650 employed at its former printing facility in the City of London. The new Docklands plant of the Associated Newspapers Group uses flexography, a rudder-plate process. Other national papers have also moved into the new computer-based printing plants outside Fleet Street. things as complete operas.
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