The Tri-City Herald had to be printed off-site for the first time Sunday after its press broke down late Saturday.
Richard Krasner, the Herald's operations director, said it became apparent around 9 or 10 p.m. Saturday that there was a combination of hardware and software problems with the press, and staff members worked into the early morning hours to fix it.
When it became apparent the problem wouldn't be solved in time to print Sunday's paper, executive managers and Publisher Gregg McConnell decided to outsource the printing of Sunday's edition to the Yakima Herald-Republic.
But that meant waiting until the Herald-Republic finished printing its own newspaper before the Herald could be printed, McConnell said.
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"We greatly appreciate their willingness to bring their people back in to get our newspaper out," McConnell said. "We appreciate the patience of our subscribers and apologize for the inconvenience it caused. We want to thank our executive leadership team that came in Sunday morning and afternoon to unload bundles and throw routes that carriers for one reason or another were unable to complete."
Delivery was delayed until late afternoon in some neighborhoods as carriers and Herald managers and staff members mobilized to get the newspapers onto 35,000 doorsteps and hundreds of single-copy locations. All but a few routes had been delivered by 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
"To add insult to injury, we had a lot of customers attempting to call to find out the status of the newspaper and were unable to get through to anybody," McConnell said.
He said the Herald's executive team wanted to create a phone recording to let customers know what had happened if they called, but issues with the third-party vendor that provides the telephone system were an obstacle.
Then so many calls flooded the system that it malfunctioned, McConnell said.
The Herald had about a half-dozen staff members answering calls at the Kennewick office, but the volume was too great to field every call.
McConnell said the Herald will address the recording issue with the phone system vendor today, and already has resolved the problem with the press.
"I believe we've taken steps to make sure it doesn't happen again," he said.
He thanked the Herald's customers and staff for riding it out Sunday.
"Special thanks to Richard Krasner, who made the right decisions in a timely manner to ensure our customers received their papers on Sunday, albeit much later than we would like," McConnell said.