Magazine article Editor & Publisher

The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss

Article excerpt

A year ago, when The Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss., shared a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina, the newsroom rightly basked in the praise. But if there was a Pulitzer for circulation, the feisty daily could claim that, too.

In the year-and-a-half since Katrina devastated the coastal area, destroying 70,000 homes and businesses in its circulation zones, the Sun Herald has managed to bounce back nearly to pre-hurricane numbers -- and there are estimates that continued growth might push home- delivery and rack sales even higher than before. The paper also boosted readership from 2.8 readers per copy before Katrina to 3.9 readers per copy today.

"The potential for this market in five to 10 years is to grow even more," says Circulation Director Gary Raskett. "There is major development taking place."

When the hurricane hit in August 2005, the Sun Herald's daily circulation was 45,658, with Sunday at 54,809. Six weeks after Katrina, when the paper began charging again after giving copies away for free, the daily circulation hovered at 36,500, according to Raskett. The paper also experienced the loss of 35 of its 165 delivery routes, while adult carriers dwindled from 140 to 20. About 300 of the paper's 1,000 newspaper racks were destroyed.

"We had a dreadful situation, so everyone was delivering papers," Editor Stan Tiner recalls. For six weeks, the Sun Herald printed 82,000 copies each day and distributed them free. …

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