Are newspapers dying? Consider this:
— The New York Times and Chicago Tribune printed 50,000 more copies of the Nov. 5 edition after papers sold out.
— The Washington Post is printing 250,000 extra copies of the same edition for keepsake collectors
— People lined up at the Chicago Sun-Times printing plant to obtain copies of the paper.
— In Atlanta, Detroit, Denver, Dallas, Birmingham and many other cities, circulation directors found newsstands empty as people bought up every copy they could find.
When an event of historic proportion occurs, people want mark the occasion – and make it personal – with a keepsake.
Traditionally, that has been the day’s newspaper.
As wonderful as the web and social networking has made the dissemination of news, one thing that it can’t do is provide a tactile, lasting memory of history — whether it’s the election of the nation’s first black President or the engagement announcement of a family member. They want something they can put in a bookcase and pull out to show future generations.
Web sites and social sites like Facebook can chronicle history, but are not tactile. They are too focused on the present to preserve the moment of the past. Twitter’s history is fleeting.
I wonder — and worry — what we’ll use to mark history in the 2012 election.