Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Twister Rips Newspaper Town

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Twister Rips Newspaper Town

Article excerpt

A HOWLING TORNADO ripped through parts of western Arkansas last week, leaving a trail of death and widespread devastation in its wake.

At the newspaper offices of the 44,000-circulation Southwest Times Record in Fort Smith, Ark., power was knocked out from the time the twister hit at 11 p.m. Sunday until 5:30 a.m. the next morning.

There was almost no advance warning of the tornado's threat and the first few copies of the Times Record Monday edition were just starting to roll off the presses when the power went out.

Over the next several hours and into the early part of the morning, the staff scrambled to publish an extra edition, complete with four pages of storm coverage.

The extra edition came out at about 1 p.m. Monday and within hours, information-starved residents had snatched up all available copies from newsstands and over-the-counter distribution sites.

"It's a mass of destruction and the entire staff put together a monumental effort," said editor Jack Moseley. "Within the first 24 hours after the disaster, we had hundreds and hundreds of calls from people telling us how much they appreciated our coverage."

Ted Brannon circulation director said carriers were able to deliver most of the newspapers except for about 5,000 copies, which the district managers picked up and delivered. …

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