Post By Alois Senefelder
Traditional print era ends at RIT lab, GOSS Web press to be sold
This saddens me in a very great deal. RIT is my school and that's where I got my education on print media and to see that Heidelberg Sunday (at the time when it was installed) getting installed and to be run was awesome.
The Goss Sunday sits in the Printing Applications Lab today. It is slated to be shut down and sold.
For decades, RIT operated a massive printing press, a clattering behemoth stamping out thousands of high quality prints a minute. But those days will soon be gone, the press sold and the people who kept it in shape laid off.
That will deal a devastating blow to at least one customer, the weekly student-run Reporter, which may be forced to stop printing the full-color glossy magazine which gives the publication its unique style.
The magazine’s leaders were informed of the impending shutdown in a meeting earlier today. Alex Rogala, editor in chief of Reporter, said the impact of the move remains unclear.
“This would likely mean Reporter would have to distribute in reduced volumes, or solely online with a monthly or quarterly print issue,” he said in a statement.
(Full disclosure: I worked for Reporter from 2007 until recently.)
Senior RIT leaders decided to shutter the Goss Sunday 2000 — a type of press known as lithographic web offset — according to Bill Garno, director at the Printing Applications Lab (PAL), which hosted the press since late 2002.
Goss International, the manufacturer, owns the press, which was consigned to PAL so it could be used to conduct research and educate students. Goss will now look for a buyer for the machine, which was once valued at $10 million, a process which could take anywhere from three to ten months, Garno said.
Before the Goss Sunday, RIT operated other presses of the same type, but as the printing industry shifted to a digital reality, said Garno, it became clear RIT had to follow.
The factors that contributed to the decision, he said, were three-fold: the School of Print Media has been transforming its curriculum to meet the new digital world; the research clients that once funded the press’ operation became scarcer; and RIT itself began to transform, its ravenous growth swallowing the sort of space and resources that the press now ties up.
The lab will continue to operate smaller, newer digital printers from Hewlett-Packard and Kodak. But of the 13 full time employees at PAL, six employees who operate the press will likely be let go.
“Those people have been told that when there’s no more work, they’ll be eligible for RIT’s severance package,” Garno said.
Though it’s hard for him to see those people go, he understands why it needs to happen.
“I can’t argue with the rationale for this decision,” he said.
Similar decisions are being made in industry, he said, and as a school RIT needs to change with the times. The question is, he said, “How do we create an environment that best prepares young people for careers?”
Alex Rogala, Reporter editor in chief, runs a hand through his hair during a midnight Thursday meeting with magazine editors. Earlier, they had discussed the planned sale and how it might impact the magazine's future. (Credit: Jonathan Foster; used with permission.)
The other likely casualty of the move, Reporter, will not be able to print the current volume of magazines it distributes on the digital presses. And it may not be able to afford being printed elsewhere.
Mary-Beth Cooper, senior vice president of Student Affairs and chair of the Advisory Board that oversees the magazine, said though it’s unclear in what form the publication will be distributed in the future — maybe on the web or as an app — the change will likely better meet the evolving needs of readers.
The magazine is only guaranteed to exist in its current form until the academic year ends in a few weeks, Rogala said. At the meeting, according to Rogala, Cooper told participants that she will ask for funding to print the magazine when school starts up in the fall, but that may not come through.
In the meantime, the magazine will meet with its advisers to decide what to do, and beef up its website in case it can no longer appear in print.
After contacting and communicating with my old professors from RIT, the Goss press has been sold to a Brazilian printer and the press is no longer on campus.
Hello fellow Lithographers,
A sad day for Lithography
On a personal note, the information and help I received from RIT over time
was crucial in my career progression. In the 1960's I moved from sheet-fed into what
was a new and exciting area of lithography in the UK - Web Offset, I met and worked
with some of the men from the first group from the UK, who attended RIT for Web Offset training.
PDF hopefully of interest, "News Release from RIT 1962"
Originally Posted by Alois Senefelder
1962! That was amazing. Thank you for sharing with us!
Originally Posted by c2k
yes thank you for sharing!
Sad about RIT the end of an era..
"Petty and Sons, Leeds England"- question, was Leeds at one time a large print hub for England? The reason I ask is 14 years ago I went to Leeds through BBR Graphics to look at used presses for our shop here in the States. The shops were fairly large by US standards, 5-8 sometimes 10 sheetfed presses. All were sitting idle, shops closed. I wish I could remember the names of them...