If Wednesday was one to instill confidence, today's final day of the Publish Asia conference in Kuala Lumpur brought home all the instabilities and insecurities which had brought many delegates here in the first place.
The manroland Uniset newspaper press from the former Harris Print Centre in Burnie, Tasmania, has been shipped to a Spanish buyer after Fairfax Media closed the print site last year. The daily Burnie ‘Advocate’ newspaper is now printed at the Launceston ‘Examiner’, where the Goss Community press has been upgraded and a larger folder added.
Thoughts of relocating the Uniset at a Fairfax site in New Zealand were apparently abandoned on cost, and the press – fitted with a IR dryer and once the pride and joy of a family-owned publisher – eventually made an undignified exit through a hole in the floor, with some help from engineers from Andy Stephens’ Global Press technologies.
Rural Press – now part of Fairfax – acquired Harris in a $47 million hostile takeover in 2003 after a $31-per-share offer had been rejected. At the time, Rural’s Brian McCarthy – now chief executive of Fairfax Media – promised an “overall strategic review” to identify how throughput levels at the Burnie press could best be grown.
Apart from the daily and associated newspapers, Harris Print handled a variety of contract work for interstate clients, and printed the first solus edition of GXpress Magazine, then a 32-page tabloid, in 2001.