Duke daily leverages
app for better production
Newspaper transitions from aging
workflow foundation to Adobe-integrated software.
By Tara McMeekin
Chronicle, Duke University’s independent daily newspaper, recently went live
with K4 Publishing software. Technology integrator Database Publishing
Consultants Inc. oversaw the University’s workflow app install, which replaced
an outdated Quark Inc. QPS app. In conjunction with K4, the newspaper also
transitioned from QuarkXPress to Adobe InDesign and InCopy.
The new integrated apps allow
The Chronicle to manage its design and editorial workflow to control to better
control its production process, according to the newspaper’s general manager,
The Chronicle began
implementing K4 in May and went live in June. The software is made by SoftCare
GmbH and distributed in the United States by Managing Editor Inc.
“One thing that we’ve liked is
that K4, InCopy and InDesign work similarly to what we’re used to so it’s fairly
easy for us to train people and get them into the system,” said David Graham,
There are roughly 100
volunteer reporters, editors, photographers, designers and production staff for
the Monday-Friday publication, with approximately 30 users on the K4 app at any
given time. Many of the reporters write only occasionally throughout The
Chronicle’s fall and spring semester publishing schedule.
Angier said The Chronicle
chose K4 based on its relationship with DPCI and also based on suggestion by
some other college publications.
“This is a system that a
number of school papers have gone to recently — papers that we have a lot of
respect for,” Angier said. “It’s given us more versatility and creativity over
what we previously had.”
The Chronicle is using its new
apps to produce the paper each day and Graham said that content is also
repurposed for publication on its Web site www.dukechronicle.com. Eventually,
Graham said The Chronicle will tap into features of K4 that automate
Overall, the new apps have
reduced bugs in the workflow — key to a staff made up entirely of volunteers,
all students working for the paper in their spare time.
“We don’t have a J-school
here, although there’s a journalism certificate program, so this kind of
functions as our J-school,” Graham said.
Although Graham was not
involved in the details of the decision to transition from QPS to K4 and
InDesign/InCopy, he said the switch stemmed largely from dissatisfaction with
The Chronicle’s aging QPS app.
“QPS had a penchant for
crashing on us and there were times when the entire server would crash and we’d
lose the newspaper and be up until 8 a.m.,” Graham said. “Now shutdowns are less
frequent. Quark had a lot of capabilities that were harder to find and then
harder to use once you found them and with InDesign and InCopy it’s all right
there — the interface is useable and you can figure it out.”
The newspaper’s typical day
goes something like this:
There’s a 3:30 p.m. budget
meeting after which time the managing editor begins page layout in InDesign. He
then updates stories and gives writers lengths. All the while, staff is editing
stories through InCopy and K4.
“We usually get most of the
basic editing done by 10:30 or 11 p.m.,” Graham said. “After that, we make
things fit, check articles out through InDesign and try to get the paper out by
12:30 or 1 a.m.” Just like a “real” paper.
Graham said the staff is split
about 40-60 between people that are interested in journalism careers versus
those who are just newspapering while attending Duke. It’s a big commitment at
any rate for part- and full-time college students.
The Chronicle has been in
production for more than 100 years and is completely independent of Duke
University. The newspaper claims a circulation of approximately 15,000 between
its distribution throughout the university and surrounding parts of Durham, N.C.
The Chronicle’s Web site, meantime, averages 70,000 hits per day.