It was the death of Johns Hopkins on Christmas Eve in 1873. Here’s what happened:
The Sun missed the story by a curious freak of chance. It was Christmas Eve, and every man who could possibly be spared had been given liberty. The counting room, or business office, had only a solitary occupant and the editorial rooms were operating with a skeleton staff. To avoid interruptions by drunken loafers, the city room door was locked, and when an ancient Negor servant came with a note from Dr. Alann P. Smith, the attending physician, announcing Mr. Hopkins’ death, he was turned away by the watchman, one Adolph Schuch. Not knowing what to do, he wandered across the street to the office of the American, where he was fervently assured that he had come to the right place, and so went home satisfied, leaving The Sun people to read the biggest news of the day in their rival’s columns.
–From The Sunpapers of Baltimore, 1937, by Gerald W. Johnson, Frank R. Kent, H.L. Mencken, Hamilton Owens. p. 132