The Day After: ‘Wash Post’ Prints Election Extra — ‘USA Today’ Runs 500,000 More — Other Papers Sell Out

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By: Joe Strupp

Demand for copies of today’s historic Obama presidential election coverage has sparked two of the nation’s largest dailies to gear up their presses again for more.

The New York Times is printing another 50,000 copies of today’s historic paper while The Washington Post is planning a 26-page extra edition, expected to hit newsstands this afternoon.

“There has been immense demand for the paper. There are lines around the building. We are thrilled people are still interested in the print paper,” said Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli. “We are scrambling to pull together a special edition.”

He had few specifics on the extra, but said at least 150,000 copies would likely be printed.

Rima Calderon, vice president/communications for the Post, said the extras would likely hit the streets by 3 p.m. and sell for $1.50 each, $1 more than the regular newsstand price. She said it would include elements of the regular edition.

The Post initially boosted the regular single-copy press run by 30% this morning, but chose to go with the extras when those were being grabbed.

“It disappeared within hours,” she said. “This is going to be a commemorative edition. There are moments like this that take place where people want a tangible print product. They really want to keep it in hand.”

Other papers are reporting similar demand for the print edition and expanded print plans, despite extensive coverage already online. More than 200 ads were on Ebay by this afternoon for Obama presidential newspaper editions, with at least one seeking $100 for a New York Times copy. Most others ranged from $6 to $25.

The Chicago Tribune announced it will print another 200,000 copies and distribute them today at 7-11 stores, while The Los Angeles Times, which boosted its press run this morning by 40,000, is now printing another 42,000 copies to feed the demand, said Spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan. “This news is 12 hours old, but it is historic,” she said about why the push is on for print copies.

USA Today is also boosting its press run, up by some 500,000 copies, according to a staffer.

“We have people in our lobby waiting for copies of the paper,” said Jennifer Morrow, external communications manager for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We had early inquiries.”

Those inquiries prompted the AJC, which usually prints 50,000 single copies, to boost that up to 150,000 today. It is also planning a special section for Sunday.

At the Detroit Free Press, Editor Paul Anger said the few hundred copies delivered to the newsroom each day were redirected to circulation after copies became scarce. “We put out at least 30,000 extra [single copies] and they ran out,” he said. “We are going to be running out more, in the neighborhood of 15,000 at least.”

Anger also noted the demand by readers to have a souvenir copy of something to indicate the historic element of Obama’s win. “It is amazing,” he said. “This is the ultimate souvenir.”

At The Indianapolis Star, meanwhile, the paper boosted its single-copy press run by 50%, according to John Kridelbaugh, vice-president, market development, who did not provide specifics. “We are running out of copies in spots, so we are doing recovery,” he said. “It is selling well.”

He said if copies keep flying out of newsstands at this rate, he may have to order another press run: “If the sales continue to be strong, we will look at anything.”

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