Hot off the presses: The art of news print |

Hot off the presses: The art of news print

Last fall the newspaper’s director of human resources was walking through the press room when an object on the ground caught her eye.

Initially Sharla Cartzdafner thought it was a piece of painted silk — something that would be a little out of place near a printing press. When she picked it up, she realized it was paper from our large presses.

“The colors were amazing,” Sharla said.

The Union uses a four-color process to print the daily edition, Prospector and all other special sections we produce. When the cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black) colors blend together at the beginning and end of each press run, the results can be striking. In the various starts and stops of the press, abstract sunsets and landscapes of the desert or mountains can be seen.

Some of the more spectacular scenes were framed and auctioned off at Paint the Town Pink in October. The press men now look for images or a great pattern in a scrap piece of paper to bring up to Sharla for framing.

Sharla wasn’t the only employee taken with the press art. Betsy Hunter, the woman with the warm smile who has greeted visitors to The Union for 25 years, also found inspiration in the colorful scraps. She took various pieces of the paper and created her own piece of art, which hangs proudly on the wall near the small conference room.

If one roll of paper for the presses were unrolled, it would stretch roughly 8.1 miles. That roll produces more than 22,000 four-page sections.

Six days a week, we create a new product for the readers, making the shelf life of an entire paper about 24 hours. Those papers get read and (hopefully) recycled.

This week I received an email from a friend asking for old newspapers for use in a project with her art students. I happily arranged to get her a big stack of old papers.

I am a fan of newspapers. I love the feel and smell of newsprint. But I also see the value in an online subscription. It’s great to know that there are creative people finding ways to extend the life of our product beyond its daily purpose.

Next time you visit The Union, I encourage you to look around at our own gallery collection of press art.

Features Editor Brett Bentley can be contacted at

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