Obama Good For Newspaper Sales

My office overlooks the Washington Post building and my parking garage  is directly across the street from the entrance to the WaPo offices.   A curious sight greeted me as I left for home yesterday evening:  A large crowd of people lined up to get a copy of the OBAMA MAKES HISTORY commemorative edition of the paper.

Waiting in line to get a commemorative November 5, 2008 Washington Post. Two hour wait.

Waiting in line to get a commemorative November 5, 2008 Washington Post. Two hour wait.

The paper files it on A26 of today’s edition under “Newspapers Sell Like Hotcakes as People Seek Mementos.”

In this Twittering, podcasting digital age, the morning after America’s presidential election found thousands of people clamoring for something more old-fashioned and tangible: extra copies of the morning paper.

OBAMA MAKES HISTORY Washington Post November 5, 2008

OBAMA MAKES HISTORY Washington Post November 5, 2008

“You can’t put a computer screen into a scrapbook,” said Joyce Mutcherson-Ridley, 56, an office manager who came to The Washington Post’s 15th Street NW headquarters only to learn that the paper’s first printing, reporting the election of Barack Obama as the nation’s first black president, had sold out by 11 a.m.

The scenario was repeated from coast to coast as newspapers found themselves scrambling to meet unparalleled demand. Some newsstands were cleaned out before dawn. A few papers made it onto eBay (as much as $100 a copy, with the bidding still going) or Craigslist ($50, “still in plastic bag”). And some were rolled out in additional batches all day, sold to folks in lines that snaked down blocks and around buildings.

People who stayed up late, bleary-eyed from television or online page clicking, woke up needing something to touch. They sought physical proof that it wasn’t all just a dream from a computer monitor’s blue glow.

“You can’t show your children your BlackBerry or your computer screen,” said Merwyn Scott, 39, a lobbyist who carefully covered his newspapers in plastic wrap against the drizzle after waiting in line outside The Post for more than an hour. “In 30 years, my children will be able to touch and feel these papers when I tell them all about this historic day.”

For the rest of us, there are PDFs.

But no wonder the media were rooting for Obama!  No way John McCain would have inspired people to stand in line to buy papers headlined “ANOTHER WHITE GUY ELECTED PRESIDENT.”

Photos by Flickr users jensimmons and blakespot under Creative Commons license.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Media, US Politics, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. carpeicthus says:

    I would definitely have bought the Post if they used that headline.

  2. Triumph says:

    My office overlooks the Washington Post building and my parking garage is directly across the street from the entrance to the WaPo offices.

    Is that the same parking garage where Woodward & Bernstein met Mark Felt during the Watergate investigations?

  3. James Joyner says:

    Is that the same parking garage where Woodward & Bernstein met Mark Felt during the Watergate investigations?

    There’s no plaque or anything!

    A quick Google search shows that

    At 1401 Wilson Blvd. in Rosslyn is the unassuming parking garage, center, where Bob Woodward met with “Deep Throat.”

    I’m on 15th Street in Washington proper.

  4. Drew says:

    Race issues trumping policy considerations. Not surprising I guess, given the historic nature of the event. But you would like to think we could quickly get past this.

    Race doesn’t matter………..right?

  5. Eneils Bailey says:

    Obama good news for Newspaper Sales.

    These newspapers and periodicals, with their declining ad revenues and subscriptions had better take advantage of this.
    This won’t last long unless they establish a new Sunday section praising the virtues of Obama.
    Silly me, the whole everyday edition is devoted to that.