Herald hits street before Obama speech

THE Sydney Morning Herald believes it was the world’s first newspaper on sale with the US election result in print.

The broadsheet produced a two-page wrap that hit the streets at 2:30pm Sydney time.

Content was locked in at 1pm by editor Alan Oakley as Barack Obama amassed an unassailable lead, allowing files to be transferred to Fairfax’s Chullora print site in western Sydney at 1:15pm.

While exact sales were not yet known, readers were “interested and surprised” to see the timeliness of the print product, Director of Newspaper Sales and Development at Fairfax Media, Paul Munro, said.

Mr Munro was not aware of any paper that had the result on newsstands before the Herald, which was available with the wrap an hour before Obama’s victory speech.

“We’ve got some of the best journalists in the world filing from the heart of the election,” Mr Munro said.

“While they were also providing content to the web, we wanted to make their work accessible to as many people as possible. We also wanted to service our regular commuter traffic.

“There is a souvenir value in it (compared to online coverage). People can’t really treasure and keep what they see on their screen.”

The project – to which Fairfax’s Director of Marketing and Newspaper Sales, Robert Whitehead (who is a former editor of the Herald and current president of PANPA) and Mr Oakley were major contributors – follows similar executions during the Beaconsfield mine disaster and the Socceroos’ World Cup run, Mr Munro said.

He said the biggest challenge would have been a close run race delaying the publication, but that staff were always “fairly confident” the voting results would reflect polling that strongly favoured Obama.

Mr Munro said newsagents thought it was a “great idea”. Herald staff were on the ground to assist with newspaper distribution and set up of the promotional posters, leaving newsagents with little work to do, he said.

The Virgin Blue ad that appeared on the wrap honoured the airline’s page one placement for Wednesday. The paper would consider a special opportunity for advertisers when this concept was replicated in future, Mr Munro said.

Click through to see wrap pages and poster

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