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Last Updated: Monday, 17 March 2008, 01:19 GMT
World's biggest print plant opens
Newspapers on a printing press
Printing plants are becoming increasingly sophisticated
The world's biggest printing plant has been opened by News International, owned by Rupert Murdoch and publisher of the Times, Sunday Times and the Sun.

Twelve state-of-the-art colour printing presses cover an area the size of 23 football pitches.

The new plant has been built at Broxbourne in Hertfordshire.

It will mean the end of printing at Wapping, in east London, the scene of fierce battles between trade unionists and the police in the 1980s.

The presses are quieter - and much faster - than their predecessors, with 70,000 papers an hour being printed here, all in full colour.

This is compared with 30,000 at Wapping, which in its day was also state-of-the-art and it revolutionised the newspaper industry, breaking the power of the print unions.

In the 1980s, new technology meant bigger and more varied papers, produced more cheaply.

BBC media correspondent Torin Douglas said the new presses require even fewer people to run them - 200 instead of 600 - and could give the newspaper industry a new lease of life in the digital media world.

For those who say newspapers are in decline, this 650m investment suggests they may be around for some time to come, our correspondent added.



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