What do you mean newspapers aren’t dead yet?
…In the aftermath of President-elect Barack Obama’s historic election, hundreds of people from coast to coast lined up to snap up extra and commemorative newspaper souvenirs marking the event. In many cases, demand was unprecedented.
USA Today sold an extra 380,000 copies and sold more online. The Washington Post has printed a total of 1,050,000 “Commemorative Election” editions since November 5. The Chicago Tribune “printed more than 1.1 million copies of the November 5 edition, about 410,000 more than we normally print,” the paper’s communications manager said. The Los Angeles Times printed 200,000 extra copies and “expect that number to increase,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution had to reprint five times for a total of 248,000 extra newspapers.
What drives people to seek out newspaper mementos of events like Obama’s election? The answer lies in the newspaper itself — hard, tangible proof of a significant occurrence that can be touched, held and saved for future generations. As a reader explained in the Washington Post: “You can’t show your children your BlackBerry or your computer screen.”
The Newseum’s daily display of newspaper front pages from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and countries around the world attracted a steady flow of tourists and news crews the day after the election outside the building on Pennsylvania Avenue. The Newseum’s Web site saw an 800 percent jump in the number of views to the Front Pages section. Commemorative posters of the front pages will soon be available online and in the Newseum store.
At a time when news publications are cutting their losses and moving exclusively to the Web, Obama’s unparalleled election proves that when it comes to preserving memories, high tech takes a back seat to good old-fashioned paper…
Well, I still think the newspaper industry is dying, but I think what is becoming common practice for many publishers is to create a PDF version of the print edition that readers can just download, which would be a more cost-efficient practice for everyone in the future. But for now, hurrah for the presses!
BTW, we’re going to Newseum next week to check out its new digs. We will report back on our findings!