Print’s Not Dead

Print’s Not Dead

Just a few minutes ago, some of my colleagues noticed a line forming out in front of the Times Building. People are queuing up to buy already scarce copies of today’s newspaper, presumably as mementos of the historic election of Barack Obama to the office of President of the United States. Before shooting this picture from the street, I ran down to a lower floor where I could get a look from overhead and got this picture. People working on that floor hadn’t noticed yet that the line was forming, and when they realized its purpose, a feeling of delight swept over the newsroom like the friendliest wildfire I’d ever seen. Reporters, editors, photographers, everyone started clapping, hooting and hollering that people still find the newspaper valuable enough to wait dozens of people deep in line for their chance to buy a copy.

Update: The Times printed an additional 75,000 copies for sale in key hubs throughout the city.



  1. The newspaper was really scarce as of 9am this morning — I couldn’t find it at any newsstand near Union Square, and finally got one for sale at a Starbucks!

  2. “Print’s not dead”

    Really? How many of those people in that line heard about Obama winning via a printed newspaper? I think the fact that they’re grabbing them up because they know it will become an item of nostalgia is actually evidence of the death of print.

  3. KinOfCain & Khoi: It’s weird, Kin you sort of have a point. But I don’t think print will ever die. It holds so much that web can never have, real texture, smell, sound of paper crinkling. I think your only right in the sense that its a nostalgic edition. And listen to what Khoi has always said, you can never replicate print for the web, if you do, then you are doomed for failure (one of the best lines ever, that people never completely listen to).

  4. KinOfCain and Khoi: To sum up…

    Newsprint never dies, it just gets scrap-booked.

    Ok, enough destroying that old chestnut.


  5. As an old print journalist I hope it reminds the Times and everyone else that “it’s the story, stupid!”

    Read their lips … they want NEWS.

    If print lives it will be because papers stop trying to be the news and instead find the news. The people in that line are news. Trying to understand why is like the time-honored reporter question “so, Mrs. Smith, how does it feel to have just lost your husband and two children in a car crash?”

    The analytics have become the reportage.

  6. The scene outside of and in the lobby of the Tribune Tower in Chicago was similar when I went out for lunch today. I think it surprised some of my colleagues (we work in the interactive division), but you can’t make a memento out of a website.

  7. Khoi: Sorry, I didn’t mean to distract from the obvious importance of the moment.

    Roger/Timothy/Patrick/John: I agree with all of those sentiments, but I can’t make a business out of printing mementos hoping that Obama gets elected every day. I love print, and I think we’re going to lose a beautiful art form in newspapers, but I think it’s inevitable.

    As with most technological transitions, however, I think what we’ve already gained with the web, and the new art forms that come with it, will make that loss palatable.

    Now, off to find a copy of this week’s Onion…

  8. I’m still trying to figure out if newspapers around the country were ‘trying’ to create this type of frenzy or if they’ve already resigned to the fact that their medium is dead and therefore never anticipated the supply they’d need to meet the demand.

Thank you! Your remarks have been sent to Khoi.