Bin Laden news actually stopped The New York Times‘ presses for the first time in twenty years

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Something fairly major happened on Sunday night, as you may have heard, but if it had happened a few minutes later, Monday's New York Times might've missed the news completely. Specifically, they'd have led with a hard-hitting story about the growing popularity of tilapia.

So it's probably good that when news of Osama bin Laden's death broke, for the first time since the first Gulf War, someone at the Times actually shouted, "Stop the presses!" and consigned a half-printed run of Monday's paper to the trash. According to the Times' Eileen Murphy (via Mediabistro):

The news broke really late, and by that time we were already in the middle of the printing run. There was some discussion and because of the magnitude of the news, the order was given to stop the presses. It's been a long time since anyone can remember a run being stopped, papers being thrown out, and then a new run starting up.

The front page was quickly changed, and 165,000 new copies were printed. The turnaround was quick because like most major news organizations, the Times has pre-written obituaries for many major figures that require only minor updates. (Hilarious side note: in 2001, Fark readers found CNN's pre-written obituaries online without password protection. These were half-finished in many cases, mixing template text with real information. Dick Cheney was listed as "U.K.'s favorite grandmother," apparently having had his page adapted from the Queen Mum's. Read that story at The Smoking Gun.)

So way to go, The New York Times. Given the way everything's moving online, this might be the last time there are presses to stop. (Above: the Times' original and updated Monday front pages.)