Newspapers In Demand Again! Inauguration Sparks Press Run Boost

By: Joe Strupp

Newspapers that saw skyrocketing demand for extra copies after Election Day were a bit more prepared today for an expected boost from Barack Obama’s inauguration, with numerous dailies increasing their single-copy press runs, some by as many as 800%.

The Chicago Tribune, which sold an extra 400,000 copies the day after Obama was elected, printed 475,000 more copies today, increasing its single-copy run from the usual 57,000, according to Communications Manager Michael Dizon. That is in addition to the usual 500,000 home delivery copies.

“The demand that we saw on Election Day took us by surprise,” he said. “This time around, we wanted to make sure we were ready.”

At the Chicago Sun-Times, the usual 420,000-copy press run was more than doubled to 950,000, according to Editor Michael Cooke.

“Every time I think I have a handle on the public appetite for newspapers reporting on Obama, I underestimate,” said Cooke.

Both Chicago dailies followed the less-is-more approach in headlines. The Tribune took a line from Obama’s address to state “Remaking America,” under a photo of the swearing-in, while the Sun-Times’ headline said simply: “So Help Me God.”

Also boosting copies is The New York Times, which printed some two million copies, about 800,000 more than usual, according to Catherine Mathis, vice president, corporate communications. She said they are being distributed in waves today to keep up with demand. The paper also is selling copies in its lobby.

“A lot of the newsstands can?t handle it, they are already being sold out,” she said. “The retail demand is three to four times our normal level.” Newsstands in Grand Central Terminal were packed with buyers of multiple copies of the local papers.

One week after publishing its largest Page One photo — of the downed U.S. Airway’s plane in the East River — The Wall Street Journal offered another first, the largest front page headline ever.

Proclaiming, “President Barack Obama” in a rare five-column wide display, the Dow Jones paper ran the headline atop a photo of Obama. Spokesman Robert Christie said the header was believed to be the largest ever.

In addition, the paper printed an extra 20,000 copies for Washington. D.C., single-copy buyers.

Both Washington, D.C. major dailies — The Washington Post and The Washington Times — carried the same headline: “Obama Takes Charge.” The Times increased its press run from the usual 100,000 to 300,000 on Tuesday and Wednesday. Post officials had no information as of yet.

USA Today, which normally prints 2.3 million copies, bumped it up to 3 million for today, while the Los Angeles Times printed 350,000 more copies than usual.

Callers to both the Sun-Times and The Washington Post were greeted with recorded messages offering copies of inaugural editions for sale.

The Commercial Appeal in Memphis is printing an extra 100,000 copies of today’s paper, with half distributed at retail outlets and the other half at the paper’s headquarters. The headline is a simple, “Mr. President.”

“The Commercial Appeal is really excited to be part of this historic moment,” editor Chris Peck said in a story. “We’ve planned an 18-page special commemorative section that focuses on the inauguration of President Obama. The section features iconic pictures, first-person stories from Washington, D.C., and details of how this event played out in the nation’s capital and in Greater Memphis.”

The Wednesday extra copies follow a string of dailies that put out extra editions Tuesday afternoon, including the Post, Chicago Tribune, The Oregonian of Portland, The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., and Journal Sentinel of Milwaukee.

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