Making news all day long
Jan 14, 2009 | 2381 views | 0 0 comments | 81 81 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Not many people make news all day long. But that best summarizes Scott Porter’s job. As Senior Vice President of Operations for MediaOne of Utah in Salt Lake City, Porter oversees the printing of a host of newspapers every day, including the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune.

In addition, Porter prints national newspapers for local distribution, including USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

Porter has added an additional newspaper to the list and this one has particular meaning to him because it is his hometown newspaper, where he began his 40-year career in the printing industry.

In 1967, as a student at Monticello High School, Scott Porter started working at the San Juan Record.

As do employees at many small businesses, Scott had a variety of responsibilities at the San Juan Record. He swept the floor and took pictures and helped with the layout.

It is rumored that he was the intrepid reporter who broke the infamous “Stevie Maughan eats a live horny toad” story of the late 1960s. However, it was the printing side of the business that caught his attention.

While Scott was working for the Record, the hometown newspaper for San Juan County completed a redesign that abandoned the broadsheet format for a smaller tabloid format. The newspaper continued as a tabloid for more than 40 years, until last week, when the San Juan Record returned to the broadsheet format.

The change in format was triggered, in part, by the decision to move printing from Cortez Newspapers to MediaOne. While it may take readers a while to adjust to the new format, the change allows the paper to be printed with full color on every page.

After graduating in 1970 from Monticello High School, Scott moved to Arizona, where he continued his work in the printing business.

Now, nearing the end of a broad and diverse career, Scott was worked in commercial and newspaper printing from coast to coast. He has spent the greatest amount of time in the Phoenix and St. George areas, where he raised a family that now includes a growing number of grandchildren. A few years ago, Scott and his wife moved to Salt Lake City to begin his work for MediaOne.

The San Juan Record has a diverse readership, boasting that nearly one-third of the subscribers live out of San Juan County. Porter is one of these dedicated subscribers, a loyal reader who has continued to subscribe to the local paper even though he last lived in the county nearly 40 years ago.

The press building in West Valley City is a technological wonder. Completed in 2005 at a staggering cost of $88 million, the building houses three separate presses in a massive tower. Unlike the antiquated equipment in Monticello where Porter began his career, the new press works with the latest in technology. The enormous presses are fully computerized and complete a wide variety of jobs each day.

The company has handled the printing and advertising for the Salt Lake City dailies for decades. In recent years, Scott has led an expansion in the scope and scale of the printing effort. In addition to the newspapers, the presses print the LDS Church News and a large number of commercial print jobs. The San Juan Record is the first in what may be a growing trend for weekly community newspapers to be printed on the Media-One presses.

The San Juan Record is sent via internet to Salt Lake City, with a 5 p.m. deadline on Monday. By 5:15, the paper is on the press and being printed. At full speed, the press can print the full San Juan Record press run in approximately two minutes. By 5:30, just 30 minutes after the layout is sent from Monticello, the printed newspaper is sitting on the dock ready for delivery.

The paper is then shipped to southeast Utah on a truck carrying the US mail. It arrives in Monticello in time to address and insert and deliver on Tuesday afternoon. It is quite an operation.

This is a time of incredible transition in the newspaper industry. Technology, the internet, and the economy have all had a significant impact.

It is a time when a small paper such as the San Juan Record can be printed in full color nearly 300 miles from home. It is also a time when financial pressures and internet competition will change the face of the newspaper industry. The San Juan Record and the Salt Lake Tribune and the New York Times are all in the same boat.

And a common denominator in the printing of these newspapers is Scott Porter, a 1970 graduate of Monticello High School.
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