By: Joe Strupp
The deadly shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, last week has sparked a record single-copy sales boom for the nearby Killeen Daily Herald, according to its general manager. But it also overloaded the paper’s Web site, causing it to crash twice on the day of the tragedy.
“It is probably the highest in sales that we have ever had,” said Vice President and General Manager Terry Gandy. “Everything has increased. We have put out additional copies and they have sold out.”
On Friday, the day after the shooting that left 12 people dead and 27 wounded, the Herald doubled its usual 3,000 single copies to 6,000, with all of them selling out. On Saturday, single copy was boosted 75%, with another sell-out, Gandy said.
On Sunday, the usual 8,000 single copies were doubled to 16,000, with 75% of those sold. Monday and Tuesday single copies were increased by 50%, Gandy said, but had no details on how many had moved.
“When President Obama was elected, we did well. But not at this level,” Gandy added. “We have also added pages every day.”
In addition to the single-copy boost, the Daily Herald published a 16-page special section last Sunday, devoted entirely to the deceased and their families. Another special section of 24 pages is set to be published on Wednesday.
Last Thursday, less than two hours after the 1:20 p.m. shooting, the paper’s Web site was so overloaded it crashed, Gandy said. Another shutdown occurred at 6 p.m. that day. In both cases, the site was back up in about 20 minutes.
“It was an unbelievable number of views we got,” added Gandy, who also said most of the 32-person news staff has been on some part of the story — which has also taken up most of the Web site: “We have brought in all of our resources from everywhere to focus on the crisis.”