While you were stuffing turkeys, Herald stuffed papers with ads

That thud you might have heard outside your door early on Thanksgiving morning probably was the Thursday edition of The Herald landing on the front step.

Packed with Black Friday advertising, the Thanksgiving Day newspaper was the biggest Herald of the year. It contained 41 preprinted advertising inserts — Thursday papers typically include six — and it weighed “just a few ounces shy of four pounds,” said Scott Maranville, packaging and distribution day production supervisor at the newspaper.

Production planning for the Thanksgiving paper began in October for Maranville and his crew.

First, they got a heads-up from the sales department on how many orders for inserts, known in the business as “preprints,” they were expecting. Next, the packaging department selected “jackets,” preprints into which other preprints are inserted, and determined which combination of preprints created the nicest-looking package for Herald readers.

Once all the preprints were put into jackets, the staff stuffed the three insert packages into the newspaper as it came off the press.

“Getting them all inserted takes approximately three eight-hour shifts to get everything ready to go out to the carriers for distribution,” Maranville said, adding that normal Thursday insertion takes about three hours.

For copies bound for sales inside stores, an inserting crew works Wednesday night into Thursday morning hand-stuffing packages into papers before The Herald’s transportation department drops them off at the stores, Maranville said.

Because of the cost of producing the Thanksgiving newspaper, the single-copy price increased to $1.50 that day, same as on Sunday.

Black Friday advertising is highly sought after by bargain hunters, and advertisers don’t want their special pricing leaked in advance. That’s why Herald staffers make sure the inserts aren’t seen by anyone outside the packaging and advertising departments prior to Thanksgiving Day.

The Sunday column, Here at The Herald, provides an inside peek at the newspaper. Is there something you would like to know? Email executive editor Neal Pattison at npattison@heraldnet.com.

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