Northstar Media was established in 1973 when Gene Johnson purchased the Cambridge Star and the Pine City Pioneer. The Cambridge Star building was located at 130 SW 2nd Ave in Cambridge. The Cambridge Star had a three-unit Harris Vanguard press at the time. Northstar Media was to become the printing plant central for all of Gene Johnson’s papers.
In 1975 a larger building was acquired at 741 2nd Ave SE in Cambridge.
To accommodate the need for larger publications, a Harris V15A five-unit press was purchased and installed. A few years later three additional units were purchased to accommodate the need for full color images and ads in newspapers.
Inserts had been placed in papers by hand until 1992, when a Kansa 480 five pocket inserter was purchased. Four inserts could be put into a paper at one time, greatly speeding up the inserting process.
An ECRM Imagesetter and Harlequin RIP software were purchased in 1998. Customers could now take advantage of this new system and send their jobs electronically as opposed to driving the flats to the shop to be shot on a large-format camera.
A new building was built in 2002 at 930 S Cleveland St in Cambridge.
A bigger building was needed to fit the newly purchased ten unit Goss Community SSC Press. The new press had six mono units and a four unit high tower for better color registration.
Inserting ability was greatly improved in 2004 when a Kirk Ruddy Multi-feeder was purchased to attach to the Kansa 480. Capacity now allowed for 9 inserts to be placed in one paper.
A Computer to Plate System (CTP) was added in 2007. The CTP used a laser to put the text and images on the plate that film used to do. Film was no longer needed to make plates. This eliminated the chemistry that was needed to develop the film.
A Kirk-Rudy Netjet was purchased in 2010 to improve our addressing capabilities.
Preprinted address labels that needed glues to stick to newspapers were no longer needed.
It also expanded our labeling capabilities from strictly newspapers to newsletters and envelopes.
In 2014 two more press units were purchased. This added more color capacity, or the ability to run two section papers at one time.