WITH THE NEW YEAR come a few very subtle cosmetic changes in the Tucson Weekly. The only one you're likely to notice unless you're a design junkie is that the rag should look a little sharper and brighter now.

For years the Weekly has been printed in Mesa and trucked into Tucson every Thursday morning. But last March, when the publication was bought by Wick Communications, we became corporate cousins with Territorial Newspapers, an outfit with its own printing press. The turn of the year seemed like the right time to bring the job home to Tucson.

Frankly, we weren't sure how things would turn out, shifting over to a different pile of hardware with a different set of quirks.

But when the Territorial cranked out 10,000 copies of last week's issue, production manager Scott Lindstrom and his staff came through with a crisp, colorful print job. Part of that has to do with the whiter paper we're using. None of it's recycled, which bothers me, but at least you can read the damn thing now.

Nearly everything else was as good as or better than what we'd been getting from out of town. This week, the entire press run is in the Territorial's inky hands.

It took the Weekly years to crawl onto the lumbering Tucson First bandwagon, but--barring black smears across the page--I'm glad we finally did.

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