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Stop the Presses! Election Roller Coaster Makes Newspaper Publishers Wince

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RALEIGH — The incredibly close race for president made for some sweaty palms around the country Tuesday night. History came at an awkward time for America's newspaper publishers.

"We pushed out deadlines back as far as we could possibly go to get the latest possible news," says Anders Gyllenhaal, the News & Observer's executive editor. "We knew it was going to be close."

The News & Observer printed four separate editions with different headlines that told story of the wild race. After their "Bush Wins" headline, the paper stopped the presses at 3:15 a.m. to replace its headline with "Bush Leads."

Many newspapers went with the early-morning projections of Bush's win. When Gore retracted his concession, it was too late for many newspaper publishers to stop the presses.

Around the country, different versions of the story made it to the presses:
  • Austin (Texas) American-Statesman: "Bush!" followed by "History on hold"
  • New York Post: "BUSH WINS!" followed by "GORE WON'T CONCEDE"
  • Chicago Tribune: "As close as it gets"
  • New York Daily News: "TOO CLOSE"
  • The Boston Globe: "It's Bush in a tight one" followed by "RECOUNT!"
  • The Orange County (Calif.) Register: "A WHOWONIT"Depending on the outcome of the Florida vote, the "Bush Wins" newspapers may become big wins for collectors' scrapbooks.
  • "I have three little boys, and I have a copy for each of them," one man says. "It's something that when they're older, when they're adults, they'll look back and remember this to be a very historic time for them."