At the newspaper office of the 44,000-circulation Southwest Times Record, in Fort Smith, Ark., power was knocked out from the time the twister hit at 11 p.m Sunday until 5:30 a.m. the next morning.
There was almost no advance warning of the tornado's threat and the first few copies of the Times-Record Monday edition were just starting to roll off the presses when the power went out.
Over the next several hours and into the early part of the morning, the staff scrambled to publish an extra edition, complete with four pages of storm coverage.
The extra edition came out at about 1 p.m. Monday and within hours, information-starved residents had snatched and over-the-counter distribution sites.
"It's a mass of destruction and the entire staff put together a monumental effort,"" said editor Jack Moseley. ""Within the first 24 hours after the disaster, we had hundreds and hundreds of calls from people telling us how much they appreciated our coverage.""
Ted Brannon, circulation director, said carriers were able to deliver most of the newspapers except for about 5,000 copies, which the district managers picket up and delivered.
"The carriers were really super, they said they would do whatever they had to do to get the paper out. It was amazing that they stuck around, "" Brannon said.
"A lot of places we couldn't get to, some places were just a pile of rubble and boards,"" he added.
On Tuesday, the Times Record carried 10 pages of storm coverage.
The tornado killed two people, injured more than 50 and left hundreds homeless. Fortunately, no one was hurt delivering the Times Record. Brannon estimates it will be a few days before he can straighten out the impact on the newspaper's home delivery.
The Times Record plans to publish a limited collectors edition that will include all of the storm coverage. The $2-ad-free edition wil be available at the newspaper's office. Half of the money from the sales will go to disaster relief efforts in the area. The newspaper plans an initial 20,000 press run.
"It's been a wild week. It seems like one thing after another,"" Brannon said. ""What really pulled us through is that everyday did whatever was necessary and everyday pitched in throughout the whole newspaper.""
?(The first few copies of the Times Record Monday edition were just starting to roll off the presses when the power went out. Over the next several hours and into the early part of the morning, the staff scrambled to publish an extra edition, complete with four pages of storm coverage.) [Photo & Caption]
By: Dorothy Giobbe A HOWLING TORNADO ripped through parts of western Arkansas last week, leaving a trail of death and widespread devastation in its wake.