A giant digital copier: individuated news, Océ-style

I pointed out a few weeks ago with some puzzlement the plans for “individuated news” announced by MediaNews Group. Because that scheme involves requiring readers print their own newspapers on special printers to be supplied by the publisher, the idea seemed to me and many others to be a non-starter.

But there’s another way: Dutch document management firm Océ has unveiled a new digital web press, the JetStream 2800, capable of printing full color, individually customizable, 600 dpi newspapers at a web speed of 130 meters per minute.

A narrower-web version of the same press, the 2200, is being set up at Imcodávila, a newspaper contract printer in Spain, with a planned May start date. The basic idea is to couple this machine with a standard offset press, using the Océ to feed a micro-zoned or even “individuated” web into the mix.

This system is one of those “holy grail” ideas that has been talked about for decades — I recall mention early in my newspaper career (that would be late 1970s) — to the effect that one day, the press would be “a giant Xerox machine” that could be heavy on sports for one reader, and heavy on financial news for the next-door neighbor.

Read the rest of this post at Nieman Journalism Lab

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    November 21, 2009

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