‘A crazy week’ at the Janesville Gazette

“It’s been a crazy week at Paul Ryan’s hometown newspaper,” Janesville Gazette editor Scott Angus tells Romenesko readers. When staffers at the family-owned paper learned late Friday that Ryan was Mitt Romney’s running mate, they rushed an AP dispatch into Saturday morning’s paper and then gathered in the newsroom early Saturday to produce 12 pages of Ryan coverage for the Sunday paper.

Angus writes in an email:

The Gazette had begun planning for the possibility six weeks before but had slowed down the work after Ryan’s prospects seemed to dim a few weeks before the eventual announcement. Planning picked up again when the Wall Street Journal and Weekly Standard both heartily endorsed the seven-term congressman, but the paper had little more than a plan in place when the announcement came. Up to 20 staffers worked 12- to 16-hour days Saturday to produce Sunday’s coverage.

Gazette staffers have taken dozens of requests for information and interviews from media everywhere. “Reporters from the BBC to CBS Evening News to the Financial Times have been seeking information on Ryan’s background, his hometown, his relationship with the media and much more,” writes Angus. “The Gazette has accommodated most of the requests, and staffers have logged more air time on radio and TV than at any time in the paper’s history.”

I asked the editor if he’d share traffic and circulation stats:

Sales of Sunday’s historic edition were brisk, and the paper continues to sell. Preliminary circulation numbers show about an extra 1,000 copies had been sold as of Friday. Normal Sunday distribution is about 23,000. Traffic to The Gazette’s website, gazettextra.com, during the four days after the announcement approached 600,000 page views, which is about a 5 percent increase from normal.

On Monday, Gazette reporter Greg Peck wrote about attending church on Sunday: “It’s also Ryan’s church. Though Ryan wasn’t there, several reporters were, including at least one using a video camera during the service. Those reporters were just doing their jobs, though I’m sure some parishioners thought prying cameras at a church service were an invasion of privacy.”