I think they have no idea what they are talking about.
That's what I think too. I feel confident in my knowledge as a graphic designer and their explanation makes no sense to me, not in the least. I thought I would at least check around to see if anyone else can back up their absurd explanation... or back me up.
Likewise, sounds like a load of baloney to me.
For an ad tracking system that deals with PDF/X-1a files, the version of InDesign that created same should be totally irrelvant.
What may be happening is that this ad tracking system is not simply storing and forwarding your PDF file, but rather, processing it in some obscene way in order to “fix” it. It is amazing how many publications and printers ruin perfectly fine PDF files by applying all sorts of unnecessary preflights and supposed fixes to files that don't need them.
Agreed. I think if their job is working in a pre-press department at a newspaper they should have knowledge of these issues and fixes or "fixes" as you put it. I know I take my job/career seriously and feel it's my responsiblity to know what I am talking about when I need to explain something to anyone.
Thanks for your input as well, I'll give it a few more days to see how many people on this board agree and/or offer explanations and then I'll bring them my findings.
sometimes strokes around text will be missing or replaced with a different color or larger areas will be blocked out in a wrong color
Regardless of the version of Indesign used to create a PDF, and what the newspaper has reported back to you, there are obviously some things going on that shouldn't. These two issues that you bring up sounds like there could be spot colors involved with your PDF. Color missing around strokes, perhaps their system is ignoring spot colors as opposed to converting to process. A different color or color blocked out are commonly reported issues with spot colors. Can you verify that your PDF does not contain spots?
No, it doesn't contain any spot colors. Sometimes it happens with basic black text with a white stroke. :/ Great suggestion, though. Thanks!
Sometimes imported art can have white set to overprint, which means it disappears.
That would make sense, but I doubt it would exchange the white for blue in that case. As well, one important thing I forgot to mention is that it prints fine on my color office printer. The strange thing is, and the reason I think Dov Isaacs (above post) could be correct is that sometimes our ads are just pick-ups (repeats of a previous ad) and it'll print fine if we have barley any changes for our ads for the following week, I just take and save my InDesign file as a new name and start editing it from there and then that version might print fine even though it has almost all the same images and text. I'm certain it's on their end.
I contacted Adobe support today and they told me that once the pdf is created, InDesign has done its job and has nothing else to do with it from there on, as we all thought!
Before it gets too adversarial, you might want to see if there is someone else there you can talk to who is more technical...
I'm with John on this... i'd be speaking to someone clued in at the newspaper about their workflow.
When they view the pdf before it prints it looks normal, this is what they've said
Who is "they"? this is important to know as it determines the amount of skill based around what has been said. is it the editor, sub-editor, the head of graphics, or one of the art-room staffers? i'd insist on talking to the head of the art department (or whoever is responsible for the ad tracking system).
Also, how does the newspaper know what "normal" is? What I mean by this is does the newspaper have a printed proof of what the advertisement is meant to look like? That is, does the newspaper have a comparison for what is on-screen compared to what is expected?
Without knowing the inner-most workings of the paper and the anecdotal cases in point, it's hard to be objective and pinpoint what is going on and give any clear answers - it's something best dealt with at the newspaper.