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Newspapers Size, Sales Buoyed By War

January 22, 1991

Undated (AP) _ America’s newspapers are grinding out extra editions, adding pages and printing thousands of extra copies to meet demand since the outbreak of war.

″It’s a terrible way to increase circulation, but it does have an effect,″ said Ed Parker, circulation director of the Rocky Mountain News.

Parker said the Denver newspaper has seen a dramatic increase in single- copy sales. The 346,000-circulation News published an extra edition last Thursday that sold more than 50,000 copies, he said.

By Monday, less than a week after war began, some newspapers said they were scaling back.

″I suspect by today, people are pretty saturated with this,″ Jack Telfer, editor of The Huron Daily Tribune in Bad Axe, Mich., said Monday. His 9,400- circulation newspaper printed 900 extra papers Thursday and 400 Friday.

The 400,000-circulation Dallas Morning News has put out a special section daily since Thursday. Bill Evans, executive managing editor, said the newspaper printed 80,000 extra papers Thursday and about 70,000 daily since then.

The Orange County Register in Santa Ana, Calif., sold 70,000 copies of an extra edition within the first few hours after war broke out. The newspaper has a regular circulation of 380,000 daily and 430,000 on Sunday. ″After the first two days, over 200,000 in extras were sold in addition to a strong increase in (demand for) our regular papers,″ said Tonnie Katz, managing editor.

The Chillicothe Gazette in Ohio has increased its press run about 15 percent daily and increased space for news by at least one page daily, said City Editor Julie Metzger. Circulation for the week ending Saturday was 17,110, compared to the previous week of 15,600.

″We’re sold out of extra editions,″ she said, ″and daily, they’re selling like hot cakes.″

The Dayton (Ohio) Daily News has pushed back deadlines to get later news, said Ken Canfield, executive news editor. The paper is printing 16,000 extra copies daily, he said.

″This is a big street sale town,″ he said. ″Since last Thursday, street sales have skyrocketed.″

At the Chicago Tribune, street sales were up about 50 percent, or 100,000 copies Thursday, the day after war broke out, said Howard Hay, vice president of circulation. He said street sales were above normal through the weekend.

Mark Nadler, executive editor of the Sun-Times in Chicago, said about 200,000 extra copies were sold Thursday. The paper continues to print extra copies of its regular editions this week, he said.

″Street hawkers were lined up at one point because they were sold out and coming back for more,″ Nadler said.

War news has apparently had little impact on newspaper advertising.

Publisher David Auger of the Daily News of Los Angeles said two advertisers temporarily withdrew ads, saying they wanted to distance themselves from the war. But advertising has remained steady as customers ″say they want to be in the paper because of extra circulation,″ Auger said.

New York Times spokeswoman Nancy Nielsen said advertisers haven’t been pulling ads, but are delaying reserving space. ″They seemed to be taking a wait-and-see attitude, instead of putting ads in and then pulling them out,″ she said.

Nielsen said that from Jan. 2 through Jan. 15, there was a 50 percent increase in ″cause-and-appeal ads″ made by groups in support or against the war.

″Now that war has broken out, we’ve seen a big drop in that kind of advertising,″ she said.

Some newspapers have looked for other ways to serve their readers.

The Detroit News, an afternoon paper, began publishing reprints of its ″historic″ front pages of the first days of the Gulf war. On Monday, it reprinted Thursday’s front page which carried the headline ″WAR.″

The Wall Street Journal is offering telephone updates on the gulf and The Oregonian in Portland has set up a special war news hot line. Hundreds of readers are using the line daily, the newspaper reported.

Since September, The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio has carried a boxed item, news from home. It’s designed to be clipped and mailed to troops overseas.

The Paris Post-Intelligencer in Tennessee is giving free papers to 80 soldier families in Henry County, said publisher Bill Williams.

And the Alamogordo Daily News in New Mexico is sending 42 copies daily to nearby Holloman Air Force Base, to be forwarded to soldiers in the gulf, said Wes Shain, circulation district manager.

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