The Washington Star unveiled its much-promoted morning edition yesterday, giving The Washington Post its first weekday morning newspaper competition since 1954, when The Post acquired the Times-Herald.
The Star printed 77,000 copies of its first "A.M. Extra," and distributed it to newstands throughout the area. Star publisher George Hoyt said the normal press run for the morning edition will be 30,000 copies, and that at some future date the Star will consider home delivery in the morning.
Boyt said there would be several new features introduced with the morning Star. In an interview, he mentioned specifically expanded business and financial coverage. The morning and the first afternoon edition of the paper - the "Capital Special," printed at 8:30 a.m. - will contain expanded stock market tables. In later editions, the more limited tables the afternoon paper currently runs will be continued, Hoyt added.
The Star also is foregoing its regional sections in the first two editions, substituting a section called "The Local Star" which offers a mixture of stories from its five local editions. The local editions will continue to be published in home delivery and late street sales editions.
A morning edition of the Star has been in the planning stages almost since Time Inc. purchased the financially troubled newspaper more than a year ago.
Hoyt and Star editor Murray Gart said that about 55 jobs have been added at the paper to handle the new morning edition, which goes to press about 3:30 a.m., some five hours before the first afternoon edition. Most of the new jobs have been in the production and circulation departments but Gart said he is recruiting new people for the editorial department.
Gart said the Star has filed an objection with the Associated Press, which forced the paper to sign up and pay separately for its morning cycle of reporting - the service it provides for morning papers - as well as the afternoon cycle it now pays for."We have sent them a letter requesting that their formula be changed because it has an unfair bias against afternoon papers," Gart said.
Hoyt said there would be experiments in home delivery of the morning paper but he would not elaborate. Gart said he already had begun delivering 60 copies of the morning paper himself to the apartment building in which he lives.
Hoyt said in would be several weeks before Star executives know how well the morning edition is selling, and whether or not sales are coming at the expense of the Star's own afternoon circulation, or represent new readership for the paper.
Several big city afternoon papers around the country, most notably in Detroit and Dallas, have begun to offer morning editions in an effort to bolster eroding circulation.