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Last modified: September 26. 2002 2:08PM

Community newspaper group centralizes production with SAXoPRESS
Chesapeake Publishing uses one system to produce several newspapers

Chesapeake Publishing Corp. The newsroom of the Chesapeake Publishing Corp.'s Easton, MD, office have been using SAXoPRESS for over a year.

ROCKVILLE, MD (December 2000)
Chesapeake Publishing's Easton Group is based in Easton, Md. This group is comprised of the daily Star Democrat and four area weeklies: Bay Times (Stevensville, Md.), Dorchester Star (Cambridge, Md.), Record Observer (Centerville, Md.), and Times Record (Denton, Md.).

Reporters and editors work at small, local offices in each of the towns served by the publications. All five of the publications are printed at the Easton facility.

When the company's aging front-end and pagination system began failing, they began a search for a new system that would allow them to improve their pagination workflow. They needed a system that would allow users in the remote offices complete access to a central production system.

They chose SAXoPRESS, the editorial system from Danish systems vendor SAXoTECH. The Chesapeake installation would be the first one handled by SAXoTECH's American subsidiary - SAXoTECH, Inc.

"We felt that SAXoTECH had more cutting-edge technology than the other vendors," said Richard Polk, Production Manager in the Chesapeake Easton, Md. office. "QuarkXPressT was new for us, but we have found it to be a very good foundation for the SAXoPRESS system. The SAXoTECH enhancements and database integrations make it work very smoothly for us. It makes Quark work smarter and keeps all the content better organized."

The solution that SAXoTECH delivered gives the weeklies reporting and editing capabilities in their local offices by connecting to the SAXoPRESS server via SAXoAnyWareT, the company's thin-client solution. All users - whether they are in the Easton office, or in one of the remote locations - work with data in a centralized SAXoPRESS database (physically located in Easton).

The SAXoAnyWare option also allowed Chesapeake to deploy thin-client terminals for the reporters and editors in their Easton office. In this way, the company was able to significantly reduce the cost of hardware for the new system, as well as the system administration costs (because no software is actually loaded on the dumb terminals).

On deadline days, the editors travel to Easton to oversee the building of the pages in the central production facility. Due to limited networking speeds available on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, the editors are not able to build pages from their remote offices. Once networking speeds are increased, they will no longer have to travel to Easton to oversee page production (the company hopes to upgrade the bandwidth in 2001).

SAXoTECH, Inc., provided on-site project management, training, and help with the initial go-live phase.

Deadlines met
"We never missed a deadline," said Polk. "We have no regrets about choosing SAXoTECH."

During the first live use of the system, Barbara Sauers, Managing Editor, was "glad to have SAXoTECH staff there to go into the server room to address problems as they came up. The newsroom could then get back to work quickly."

"We learned a great deal about our implementation process at Chesapeake," said Mark Prokosch, President of SAXoTECH, Inc. "The people in Easton were very patient with us. They knew it was our first complete U.S. installation, Despite that, we made all of our deadlines and they made all of theirs."

During and after the installation, the employees of Chesapeake Publishing made several requests for modifications and improvements to the SAXoPRESS system. The Danish programmers were able to make most of their changes very quickly.

"I was amazed at how responsive SAXoTECH was at adding U.S.-specific features, as well as those specific to our publication, that we requested. Some things were added almost overnight," said Polk.

After installing SAXoPRESS, Chesapeake was able to streamline their production processes in several ways, including:

With the Easton Group now in the support phase of the process, they continue to suggest enhancements to the process and to the SAXoPRESS system. SAXoTECH is always eager to respond to these customer requests because the company knows the best new features are always ideas proposed by people using the software every day.

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