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Extra! Extra! Read All About Obama's Inauguration!

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Extra! Extra! Read All About Obama's Inauguration!

Extra! Extra! Read All About Obama's Inauguration!

Extra! Extra! Read All About Obama's Inauguration!

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/99570722/99570683" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Many newspaper publishers hope Barack Obama's inauguration will give them at least a one-day lift in circulation as Americans buy special commemorative editions. The Washington Post plans to use 500 street hawkers to try to get the papers into the hands of out-of-towners.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Today's presidential inauguration should bring some good news for the troubled newspaper industry. Newspaper sales soared the day after Barack Obama was elected last November, and a similar spike is expected with his inauguration. There you go, economic recovery already. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports.

YUKI NOGUCHI: Today and tomorrow you might hear this.

Unidentified Boy: Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

NOGUCHI: The Washington Post is printing morning and afternoon editions hawked by 500 people selling them in the streets.

Mr. MICHAEL TOWLE (Director of Circulation, Washington Post): It really is a throwback to the '30s and the '40s.

NOGUCHI: That's Michael Towle, circulation director for the Post. The newspaper plans to print twice its normal volume, 2.7 million papers in two days. Towle's job is complicated by the fact that a thousand newspaper racks need to be removed from the streets for security reasons. But that's not the main distribution challenge.

Mr. TOWLE: Our only fear at this point is the worrying about gridlock - can we get to where we need to get?

NOGUCHI: The newspaper will cost $2, nearly three times its normal price. But Towle says the paper will get more of an emotional windfall than a huge financial profit.

Mr. TOWLE: It has energized everybody in the newspaper industry that, you know, people want our product. You still can't take the computer screen home with you and put it in your attic for the next 40 years, where you can do that with a newspaper. There's something to be said about holding a piece of history in your hand.

NOGUCHI: Other newspapers, including the president-elect's hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune, plan to run extra editions or extra copies of their inaugural editions. For those not braving the streets of D.C., the Washington Post is selling today's paper online for 8.95 apiece, or if you want a really big chunk of history, a 100-pack goes for 400 bucks. Yuki Noguchi, NPR News, Washington.

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