Tim Russert Coverage Boosts Hometown ‘Buffalo News’ — Where He Once Worked

By: Joe Strupp

The Buffalo News’s reporting on the death of hometown boy Tim Russert gave the paper a Web and print reader boost, according to Editor Margaret Sullivan.

The News, where Russert worked as a delivery truck “hopper” during several college summers, increased its single-copy press run on Saturday by 10%, resulting in about 6,000 more copies on the day following Russert’s sudden death. The paper covered Page One with two Russert stories, including a banner headline lead story.

On the Web, the News saw a 53% increase in unique users over a normal Saturday, while page views were up 90%, Sullivan said. Some 9,500 users also viewed a news blog where comments were sought on the television journalist, up from the usual 1,300.

“There is a very strong feeling in this town for Tim Russert,” Sullivan said, adding that his father spent 45 years as a part-time truck driver for the paper. “He had a lot of relationships with different parts of the community.”

The paper followed on Sunday with a Father’s Day-themed story on Russert and his father. Monday’s paper found coverage of a vigil at a local park named for the NBC News star.

Like most news outlets, the News did not have an obituary pre-written for Russert, Sullivan said. “We did not think he was going to die at 58,” she said.

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