Obama: Good for newspapers — today
NEW YORK – In the same way that the Philadelphia Phillies’ World Series win boosted Inquirer and Daily News sales last week, U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama is jumping in to help papers across the country survive.
People across the country flocked to convenience stores and newsstands snatch up copies of their local papers, which ultimately will prove the most enduring mementos commemorating the election of the first black president of the United States. It’s not a long-term game changer, considering that you can’t hold an historic presidential election every day, but it’s a nice sweetener for a bitter industry story.
Here’s just one example of how the day is shaping up: The New York Times is printing an extra 50,000 copies of today’s paper for the local market after completely selling out, according to spokeswoman Catherine Mathis. (See the Romenesko journalism blog for more details about heavy press runs at other U.S. newspapers.)
Here’s more from Mathis:
We increased our print run for single copy by about 35% but know first hand that some vending machines and newsstands are selling out. … In 2004 we saw an increase in sales of around 50,000 copies the day after the election and based on what we’ve seen today, we expect to significantly surpass those sales. We also plan to increase our print run for single copy sales tomorrow, although not as much as today.
The Washington Post sent out a press release saying that it increased copies available for sale at retail locations and newsboxes by 30 percent, but sold within hours.
And here’s an UPDATE: When’s the last time you saw an afternoon edition of the New York Daily News? From CEO Marc Kramer: We are happy to report that in addition to extra printed copies of our regular morning edition, which flew off newsstands, we have also printed and are distributing an updated second edition of the Daily News which will be available as early as noon today.
Here’s what else we’re hearing from colleagues, relatives and friends:
New York City: Friends saying it’s impossible to find the Times. Who says print is dead?
Chicago: I train into Chicago’s Union Station and I saw long lines at the newsstand there with a number of people buying five or more Chicago Tribunes or Sun-Times.
Westchester County, New York: The New York Daily News and Post were down to the last two or three copies at the waning moments of rush hour at 9a.m. Same with USA Today. The New York Times was sold out. I got a request from my brother-in-law in Georgia to grab copies of every local paper for him. I tried.
Los Angeles: [At a 7-Eleven in Burbank,] they had eight Los Angeles Times left. The clerk said someone came in and bought 13 papers. The Starbucks in Burbank sold out of papers.
Meanwhile, a cursory examination of eBay reveals a copy of today’s Times with a “buy-it-now” price of $19.99.
What are you seeing out there around the country? Are you having trouble finding your paper today?
(Photo: David Cook, an agent in the entertainment industry, looks at empty newspaper racks as he attempts to buy copies of the Los Angeles Times newspaper at the World Book & News newsstand in Hollywod, California, November 5, 2008. Cook has been to six locations attempting to buy newspapers with election day results. This newsstand sold out most of its papers one hour after they arrived in the early morning hours. REUTERS/Fred Prouser )