Case Study

How Column Simplified Pagination for a North Carolina Publisher

By Alex Lutz, Partnerships · August 13, 2021

In December 2020, Restoration NewsMedia, a North Carolina publisher housing the state's oldest family-owned newspaper, adopted Column to support their public notice process. As a generational enterprise, Restoration's five publications provide a staple of critical information and reliable journalism for their communities.

The head of Restoration's pagination department, Allison Pridgen, recently met with members of the Column team to share her experience during their public notice system integration. According to Allison, Column's solutions have not only improved Restoration's customer experience and public notice workflow, but also expedited their pagination process.

Like many newspapers around the country, Restoration previously followed a traditional, less efficient pagination process, using a sluggish pagination software plug-in. The first step required uploading individual files in varying formats. Next was the editing phase, during which changing a single line required a complete restart. All told, paginating the legals section for a single publication would take two hours.

Allison summed up Restoration's back-end experience in seven simple words: "Pagination is not a user-friendly process."

Despite these challenges, when Restoration decided to adopt Column's software, Allison was wary at first.

"Any time you have to change anything, particularly in the newspaper business, everyone is up in arms about it," she said. "It would be foolish to not have some reservations about Column's new process, but they were all quickly alleviated by the onboarding process and the people involved."

Allison met with the Column team, learned about our mission, and after watching a product demo, believed our tools could add value to her team. During the integration process between Column and Restoration's software, the teams met weekly to troubleshoot bug fixes like font duplication and style adaptation. After a few short weeks, the system was up and running, and it provided an immediate payoff.

Column condensed Allison's workflow into a few easy steps, drastically cutting the time required to prepare legals for publication. Column's integrated templating system eliminates the need to format and upload the many files involved in pagination, as Column delivers a single InDesign file which provides a running text document with an easy interface to make the inevitable edits. As Allison explained, "All we're doing is opening the InDesign document, copying and pasting it, and it is just a running text document in my file."

In addition to reducing the number of files Allison has to manage, Column streamlined Restoration's pagination process into a single platform. Allison's department can now paginate for every publication without adapting the process to each paper, all in a fraction of the time.

Allison insists that the increased efficiency and hands-off nature of the new pagination process has made a world of difference. "The savings of time and the efficiency of putting together a page, with regards to the whole company, has made it a lot more hands-off," she said.

After working with Column for several months, Allison believes that publishers of all sizes stand to benefit from Column's modern software and dedicated staff.

"Once we started working with Column directly, we felt confident in them," Allison said. "Besides the advantages of the Column platform, its customer success team and developers have made the integration process a breeze."

Allison added that Column has set a new standard for Restoration's relationships with other technology companies in the newspaper industry.

For Restoration and Column, public notice workflows are only the beginning. Now that Allison and her team have seen the benefits our software, Column looks forward to working with Restoration to solve additional problems for the publisher.

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