Britain’s national newspapers were, between them, selling almost a million copies a day extra in the week of the terrorism attacks in the US.
Unofficial figures compiled among newspaper executives saw The Daily Mail and the broadsheets in particular make astonishing leaps in circulation.
The Daily Telegraph is estimated to have sold an extra 91,000 copies a day; The Guardian sold around 84,000 extra copies; The Times 88,000 and The Independent 44,000.
The Daily Mail made what is believed to be the biggest circulation leap and is understood to have picked up extra sales of 266,000 copies a day.
By contrast The Mirror sold an estimated extra 135,000 copies and The Sun 130,000 copies with The Daily Star trailing with an estimated 25,000.
The percentage leap for most of the broadsheets was much greater than for the red-top tabloids. For the major world news story, it seems people were turning to the serious newspapers rather than the normally entertainment-led popular papers.
Most of the population would have seen the dramatic pictures of the two planes crashing into the World Trade Center and the awful aftermath again and again on TV. Yet this did not stop the people going out the next morning and buying the newspapers.
A newspaper insider said: "The key thing for newspapers here is that it shows people wanted to read about what they’d seen on television."
The official ABC circulation figures for September will not be released until October, but are not broken down into week by week figures.
Although the circulation figures were up, advertising revenue would have been badly hit.
The Evening Standard in London had an edition on the streets by 3.30pm on the day of the New York terrorist attack. By 5pm, it had seven pages of reports and pictures and a wrapround. A special early edition was printed at 6.30am on Wednesday and on the streets at 7am. Total sale on Wednesday was well over 700,000 – compared to the Standard’s usual sale of 430,000 – and higher than when Princess Diana was killed.
By Martin McNamara