By: Joe Strupp
It’s no surprise that Green Bay Packer quarterback Brett Favre’s retirement today would be big news for the Green Bay (Wis.) Press-Gazette.
But is it worth a 12-page extra edition? Editor John Dye thinks so.
“It is one of our main news topics,” Dye said Tuesday about Packer coverage. “It depends on your perception of what a community newspaper is. We are already getting e-mails from people on where they can buy copies.”
Dye said the paper would distribute 50,000 extra editions beginning at about 3 p.m. CST through some 400 outlets, charging $1 per copy. He said about seven or eight pages had been created prior to today’s announcement that Favre, the 16-year veteran and Super Bowl champion, would not return for the next season.
“We tried to anticipate how his retirement or return would impact our coverage,” said Dye, who added that the paper’s Web site was also providing extra coverage. “Once we got word this morning, we put those plans in place.”
The extra edition will have about a page and a half of advertising, which along with the $1 cover price will mean a nice profit from the 50,000 copies being printed. “There is some cost to bringing in drivers and getting trucks ready,” Dye said, defending the per-copy fee.
The editor said this was the Gannett-owned Press-Gazette’s first extra edition since Sept. 11, 2001.
Although the paper’s Web site is providing expanded coverage, Dye said a print extra was deemed worthwhile given the market.
“This is an exciting story in Green Bay, where a lot of people still leave work in mid-afternoon and there is an extremely high interest,” he said. “Internet does not preclude interest in print. People seem to want both.”
Early Web traffic indicates the online coverage has drawn heavy interest, with nearly 200,000 hits to the paper’s site by 1 p.m. and estimates that the site would see double that before the end of the day. Web officials said the average non-football season web traffic is about 135,000 per day.
Dye noted the newspaper’s long history with the football team, saying Packer founder Curly Lambeau held one of the first meetings about forming the team in 1919 with then-Press-Gazette sports editor George Calhoun in the newspaper’s newsroom.