Stanley Cup-Win Coverage a Hit in the Motor City

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By: Joe Strupp

Anyone who thinks newspaper Web coverage has taken the bite out of playing up big local stories in print should look at today’s coverage of the Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup championship.

Both Detroit dailies handed over their entire front pages to the hockey team’s game six win Wednesday night over the Pittsburgh Penguins, with each also increasing single-copy press runs today by at least 50,000 and selling special eight-page extras after the game.

“They pretty much doubled the single-copy [press run],” said Jeff Gibson, single copy manager for the Detroit Media Partnership, which distributes both the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press through a joint operating agreement.

The eight-page extras, which sold for 50 cents, had been published in advance with enterprise and non-breaking stories about the team’s season and playoff run. About 10,000 copies were distribued for each paper.

In addition, each paper played the win as the sole story on a first front page, followed by a second “front page” on A-3 with other lead news. The News headline proclaimed: “Sweet Stanley,” while the Free Press bannered: “Red Reign.”

Detroit News Editor & Publisher Jon Wolman told E&P such front pages are part news and part selling point, because many readers will still purchase them as collector’s items despite the expansive Web presence. “It is worth it in two ways,” he explained. “One is that we think of it as a poster, and how it would look on a newsstand. I also want to see how it would look on your wall at home.”

Wolman said Detroit has more of a single-copy readership than many cities, and this is also a great way to lure in occasional readers: “When the sports teams galvanize the community as they have, we have a lot of people stopping by to buy it.”

Free Press Executive Editor Caesar Andrews said even with extensive Web coverage, the print copies still draw a demand both for news and souvenir needs: “There was no shortage of energetic and robust coverage in both Web and print.”

Each paper also published a special section today, with eight pages in the News and six for the Free Press, editors said.

Wolman added that it is a clear marketing option in the near future as well: “We will make some marketing opportunities from it, and we have arranged for a book of photographs.”

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