The Katrina bounce

LAT Publisher Jeffrey Johnson told the staff today that sales of the paper increased an average of 9,600 a day (or 8.8%, and I'll assume those are street sales) since the hurricane. Page views at are up 44%, he said. Houston Bureau Chief Scott Gold's work in the water in New Orleans gets special mention, especially this piece about conditions in the Superdome. Johnson's note follows, but first: this afternoon's horrific story is that 400 to 500 New Orleans police officers remain unaccounted for (on a force of 1,600) and may be dead.

Johnson's note to staffers:

Employee Bulletin

September 8, 2005

TO: All Employees

SUBJECT: Coverage of Hurricane Katrina

Since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, we've been providing our readers with riveting and dramatic coverage of this tragic, historic event. Every area of The Times, from newsgathering to production to consumer marketing and circulation, has contributed to getting the story out.

About three dozen journalists – reporters, editors and photographers – have been deeply involved in the newsgathering effort. The national staff has led the effort, but had great cooperation from the business, metro and features staffs who are examining the storm's ripple effects on California and the business world.

Reporters, led by Houston Bureau chief Scott Gold, have been working in the most chaotic conditions imaginable. They have survived and thrived without a steady supply of any of the basics—electricity, running water, clean clothes, hotel rooms, or decent food. Scott Gold's first-person Column One about what he was witnessing in his first days in New Orleans stands out as a piece that will be long remembered.

During last week, we sold an average of 9,600 more copies a day, which is about 8.8 percent higher than the prior week, due to our coverage. Traffic on also had a lift. Overall, page views increased 44 percent. The highest rated story of the week was Scott's piece on life in the Superdome.

Consumer marketing worked very quickly to create and produce a double-sided rack card to promote The Times' from-the scene coverage of Katrina's aftermath. Cards and headers will be posted for three weeks.

The Los Angeles Times and other companies are partnering with the McCormick Tribune Foundation to raise money to help the victims of the hurricane. The Times has run two full-page ads for the campaign. More ads are in the pipeline. To date, the McCormick Tribune Foundation has raised $3.8 million for victims of the hurricane and will contribute an additional $1 million to the effort.

Everyone did an exceptional job in serving our readers and the public. Once again we showed just how good we could be as a news organization. My thanks to all of you for your contributions and team efforts.


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