When big news breaks, newspapers are in demand despite the immediacy of online news. Newspaper across the country including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The News & Advance in Lynchburg, Va., printed extra copies in anticipation of higher demand Monday, when headlines heralded the death of Osama bin Laden.
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The Newseum site was processing more than 2,800 requests per second when it became overloaded Monday, he said. Traffic started to peak at 3 a.m. Eastern time Monday when Europeans woke to the news. It grew again at about 6 a.m. Newseum even became one of the 10 most-talked about topics on Twitter for a while.
Some newspapers stopped their presses to update their front pages with late Sunday's developments. The Washington Examiner, a free daily newspaper, ran a special edition Monday afternoon under the headline, "We Got Him!"
The website for the Newseum, a museum in Washington devoted to journalism, was inaccessible for many visitors Monday as thousands of people flocked to it to see how newspapers around the world handled coverage of the terrorist leader's death.
The website posts digital replicas of front pages of hundreds of newspapers every day.
The site was working fine on Tuesday, when many international papers that couldn't get the news in Monday's editions reported the news of bin Laden's death.
Paul Sparrow, senior vice president of broadcasting at the Newseum (buliding below right), said the museum often sees demand for newspapers' front pages spike when there are major stories in sports, entertainment or politics. Some of the biggest news events recently were the 2008 presidential elections and the New Orleans Saints' Super Bowl victory in 2009.
Although websites allow people to get up-to-the-minute news, readers turn to newspapers because they offer a snapshot in time, Sparrow said. "It reflects an emotional moment in time versus an ongoing story that's constantly changing," he said.
Several newspapers promoted Monday's editions as keepsakes, just as many did the day after President Barack Obama's election and inauguration. Some newspapers, such as the Chicago Tribune, plan to make Monday's edition available for sale on Tuesday for people who missed it.
A newsstand at the National Press Building in Washington sold out nearly every newspaper with the bin Laden story by noon Monday. The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post were sold out on some newsstands, according to those newspapers.
The New York Times doubled or tripled the number of newsstand copies it printed for several markets, including New York, Washington, Boston and San Francisco. The Washington Post said it printed an additional 70,000 copies, which is about double its normal print run, excluding home subscribers. USA Today added roughly 200,000.
Newspaper websites were also seeing increased traffic. Visitors to The New York Times' website who were not already logged in could not access articles for about 30 minutes, as the site coped with an unprecedented surge in volume.
At the Newseum on Washington's Pennsylvania Avenue (interior photo at left), a newspaper from Pakistan joined the daily displays of newspapers from every state and Canada.
Many visitors pulled out their cell phones to take pictures of the screaming headlines, especially the New York Post's: "Got Him: Vengeance at last! US nails the bastard."
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser stood out for having one of the biggest pictures. Bin Laden's image filled nearly the entire page with the big headline, "Dead."
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