Obama Win Prompts Additional Newspaper Runs

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Nov 7, 2008

On the way home the other night, I was listening to the radio and I heard a story that started out by saying: “The printed word is not dying by a long shot.” That’s always encouraging news to hear, especially from a media outlet not involved with print at all. The story went on to describe how people were lining up at newsstands all over the US to pick up newspapers with headlines about the election of Barack Obama’s as the next President. Many newsstands ran out quickly, which prompted some newspapers, including the Washington Post, New York Times, and Chicago Sun-Times, to reprint hundreds of thousands of additional copies. This story was also published yesterday on AdvertisingAge’s website. From the article:

“There are things that the website can do that the paper can’t do,” Mr. Hills added. “And there are things that the newspaper can do that the website can’t do. There is an authority to the paper and a lasting quality to the paper that is unique.”

The Chicago Sun-Times sold out today’s edition and printed another 150,000. “We are selling the extras so fast, people are lining up at the gate of the printing plant to buy the paper,” said Don Hayner, managing editor, in a note to the journalism blog Romenesko.

It’s no secret that the major daily newspapers, and even some other publications in the United States have been struggling for the past few years, especially as more media moves to alternative distribution and advertising methods, specifically on the Web. The Christian Science Monitor is moving from a daily to a weekly printed publication and focusing its daily operations on the web. The same has just happened to US News and World Reports. Job cuts are looming for many other newspaper publishers.

However, as Mr. Hills states in the article, the “lasting quality” of print is something that has yet to be duplicated by digital means, and reinforces the belief within our industry that print is still an extremely powerful and valuable medium. Regardless of your political persuasion, I think that’s something we can still all agree on.

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