In a super-swift response, some regional evening newspapers got out special editions to carry the news of the Queen Mother’s death on Saturday night and others produced Sunday special editions.
The royal family’s matriarch died during Saturday afternoon but the Express & Star had a special edition on the streets by 8pm, just two hours after editor Warren Wilson was told the news. Staff at the Wolverhampton-based newspaper worked through the evening to produce a 24-page tribute edition for sale the next day – the first time it had published on a Sunday.
Wilson said: "It was a great team effort. To turn out a special edition within two hours highlights the professionalism and dedication of the editorial, production and circulation staff."
The Express & Star also printed an eight-page supplement on Monday.
The Evening Star, Ipswich, reprinted on Saturday night within 95 minutes. One of the few papers to still have a sports evening, the Green ‘Un, the Star stopped its printers leaving for home and with a skeleton crew of three got the 64 pages replated and printing by 7.45pm – a first in its history. It contained a nine-page special which was snapped up at Saturday-night outlets.
The Gazette, Blackpool, produced its first Sunday edition within hours of the announcement. The evening title already had a prepared royal tribute supplement on the stocks but, faced with waiting until its next scheduled print run on Monday lunchtime, it decided on a Sunday special.
Philip Welsh, Gazette managing director and editor-in-chief, said: "Within minutes of the news breaking, journalists were volunteering for duty. Blackpool was packed with visitors over the weekend and everyone felt that there was an opportunity to create a little piece of history.
"Once we had secured an early Sunday morning print slot, a team of journalists worked into the night to produce a 40-page commemorative edition complete with local reaction and a 28-page pictorial tribute."
The Hull Daily Mail and new East Riding Mail produced a 32-page tribute edition for sale on Sunday morning. A team of journalists produced 10 live pages to complement a further 22 that had been prepared.
As well as news of the death and local and national reaction, the Mail devoted three pages to photographs of the Queen Mother’s visits to its patch. Editor John Meehan said the operation went "like clockwork".
The Lincolnshire Echo produced only the second Sunday edition in its 109-year history. Fourteen reporters, designers and photographers worked through the night to put together a 40-page tribute edition. Early indications show the edition, printed at 5am, sold more than 2,000 copies.
The Echo already had 24 pages of tributes and memories written and designed when news of the death broke. Almost immediately, reporters and photographers began working on 16 more pages of reactions, mainly from locals. Design and content editors updated the original obituary pages, then started piecing together the new material.
The Peterborough Evening Telegraph put out a 24-page special on Sunday.
It was produced in less than three hours on Saturday night to meet the only available press slot. It is believed to be the first time the Telegraph has published on a Sunday.
Editor Kevin Booth said: "It was a tremendous effort by all concerned.
"The dedication and commitment of my staff meant that we were able to get our papers out alongside the nationals on Sunday morning." The Plymouth Evening Herald had an editorial team of 10 assembled by 6.15pm on Saturday to produce a 24-page supplement with a four-page news wrap, printed at 9.30pm and delivered at 5.30am on Sunday to 200 outlets around the city. Monday’s paper had an eight-page wrap on the Queen Mother, off-stone at 7.30am.
The Birmingham Evening Mail called in a full news, features, production, pictures and sport crew on Sunday and they worked through to midnight in some cases – a 12-hour shift – producing an 88-page Easter Monday early morning special. At the same time, the Mail team produced a 36-page standalone picture special printed on high-quality paper. It also went on sale when the shops opened on Monday, priced £1.
Twice-weekly paid-for the Lynn News capitalised on its links with the royal family for its Tuesday’s edition. The King’s Lynn-based paper has a massive archive of royal pictures thanks to nearby Sandringham House, the royals’ Norfolk retreat.
Tuesday’s tribute supplement had new pictures and copy added to re-angled copy from a royal souvenir issue. Editorial staff were called in on Sunday to cover local reaction, including at Sandringham.
lIn a reverse move to most of the evening papers, the Sunday Mail got a Queen Mother special out on the streets of Glasgow by 8pm on Saturday. It normally runs a "streets" edition late on Saturday night but brought printing back to 7.20pm, and added seven pages of Scottish reaction to her death, plus details of her life which were already on the stocks.
By Jean Morgan