I'm wondering why the Sunday comics are hidden among the ads. Is it a ploy to get readers to read them? If so, it's not working on me. I'm on to you!
— Paige J., Ashland
Well, Paige, while the comics are often called the funnies, we take this all very seriously. In fact, give us a moment to put on our serious, just-the-facts-ma'am face ... there, now we can give it a go.
According to Ed Rose, the man who knows all when it comes to newspaper production and delivery, size matters in the placement of various inserts in the newspaper.
For starters, the comics section is an insert into the paper, rather than part of our press run. Our comics are actually printed at the Klamath Falls Herald & News and shipped to our production building, where they are stored until they are inserted into the paper. (And they can come a couple of weeks early, so there are those among us who already know what kind of trouble Garfield and Odie will get into in 2014.)
During much of the year, says Ed — whose official title is operations director — the comics section is often used as a "jacket" that holds pre-print ads on Sunday. But during the holiday season, when the ads seem to multiply geometrically, the comics section size is just not big enough.
Many of our ads are 12.5 inches wide, as is the Mail Tribune, while the width of the comics page is 11 inches. On a normal Sunday that doesn't present much of a problem, but this time of year it means the ad inserts would be spilling out the sides if we tried to stuff them into the comics. So, instead, the comics are stuffed in with the other ads.
There you have it, Paige. No ploy, just practical.