The Shropshire Star rushed out a special 6am edition yesterday to cover an explosion that ripped through the centre of Shrewsbury over the weekend injuring 12 people.
The evening title issued an early Monday morning print run of around 8,300 papers with six news pages on the blast and an eight-page supplement with around 80 pictures of the aftermath – almost half of which were submitted by readers.
Print and web journalists worked through Sunday night at the Star’s Telford headquarters to produce the special edition, which was on the streets in time for breakfast the following day.
Staff came in on their days off to cover the story with some staying until 4am to produce the print and online coverage before returning at 7am to work on later editions.
The title then followed up the story throughout yesterday, printing more than 70,000 newspapers over seven editions, an increase from its usual Monday circulation of around 66,000.
Jon Simcock, deputy editor, said: “It was a terrific effort all round. As usual, our staff responded brilliantly to the call, giving up a large part of their Sundays and in many cases working through the night to ensure we hit our deadline.
“The response from our readers, too, was amazing. Within minutes, we had pictures from the scene, eye witness accounts and even video footage, to complement the words and images from our own people on site.”
The 11.20am explosion, which detectives believe was caused by a gas leak, destroyed a building in Bridge Street and caused several roads to be closed.
Web users keen to know more about the blast caused the paper’s website to record its highest number of visitors in a single day, added Carl Jones, Star assistant editor, as more than 137,000 pages were viewed – six times more traffic than for a normal Sunday.