The historic Press building was badly damaged in last week's earthquake and, sadly, Fairfax lost one of its staff members in the disaster. But, as The Press editor Andrew Holden's story details, even when surrounded by death and destruction, journalistic duty kicked in and, with the help of the other Fairfax hubs, the team somehow managed to get a paper out the next day. And as the rest of New Zealand watched and listened to the broadcasts, many Christchurch residents were still without power, which meant the local papers became the main source of information. Sandra King, group sales and marketing manager, Fairfax Media, sent this note to agency partners and clients about the state of the Christchurch paper, which is set to celebrate its 150th anniversary in May.
This is a very quick note to confirm that despite many of our systems not being operational after last week's quake in Christchurch, the production of The Press was on a sustainable footing from last Tuesday evening. Our Wellington hub was assigned production and subbing of The Press print and online pages, and the Waikato hub managed advertising. The aim was to relieve pressure on our Christchurch staff and to smooth page flows and hit deadlines.
The result saw The Press produce copies into Christchurch and the South Island from Wednesday morning. While there have been some limitations, including the physical state of the streets and home delivery etc, Christchurch is being supplied where there are outlets and where subscriber homes are still accessible. Many supermarkets are open and we get hour by hour updates on petrol stations.
The print run has remained the same, albeit with a much smaller book size. The South Island is also being distributed to, although the start and delivery times have been late (maximum two hours). But it is getting to market.
As power is not fully restored, The Press is the main means of communication for the community and as such retail copies are being sold out.
We will continue to liaise with our advertisers on their current bookings, material requirements and of course new bookings can be accommodated. Can we please ask that all material is continued to be sent to us in a timely manner. Thanks so much for working with us to make the process as simple as possible, we really appreciate it.
It has been a very distressing time for our company, with a staff member not making it out of our building and a number of others remaining in serious condition in hospital. We thank you for your emails of support, well wishes and understanding of the situation for our production limitations at this time.