Skip to comments.Newspaper Circulation Falls Sharply (Dinosaur Media DeathWatch™)
Posted on 10/31/2006 4:27:46 AM PST by abb
The circulation of the nations daily newspapers plunged during the latest reporting period in one of the sharpest declines in recent history, according to data released yesterday. The slide continues a decades-long trend and adds to the woes of a mature industry already struggling with layoffs and facing the potential sale of some of its flagships.
Over all, average daily circulation dropped by 2.8 percent during the six-month period ended Sept. 30, compared with the period last year, according to an industry analysis of data released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Circulation for Sunday papers fell by 3.4 percent.
The figures appear to be the steepest in any comparable six-month period in at least 15 years. They come after the sale of the Knight Ridder newspapers this year and in the midst of a possible sale of the Tribune Company, whose assets include 11 newspapers. The circulation losses also follow recent sour earnings reports, raising questions about why anyone would want to buy a newspaper now.
The losses have accelerated as the industry tries to adjust to the steady migration of readers and advertisers to the Internet. Papers in major metropolitan areas, where more homes are wired for broadband, fared worse than those in smaller markets.
Newspaper executives also attribute some of the decline to deliberate strategies to eliminate so-called bulk sales to third-party sponsors that offer papers free in places like hotels. Advertisers view them as having little value because the readers getting them did not pay for them.
The Los Angeles Times lost 8 percent of its daily circulation and 6 percent on Sunday.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Newspaper circulations continue to fall
By James Rainey
Times Staff Writer
October 31, 2006
Most American newspapers continue to lose circulation, according to figures released Monday, but an industry trade group and individual publications countered with statistics showing expanding audiences on their websites.
Weekday circulation at 770 newspapers nationwide equaled 43.7 million a day in the six months ended Sept. 30, down 2.8% from the same period last year, according to the Newspaper Assn. of America. Sunday circulation for 619 newspapers declined 3.4% to 47.6 million. The figures came from data collected by Audit Bureau of Circulations, an independent organization.
The Los Angeles Times joined the vast majority of daily newspapers in reporting declines. The paper's weekday circulation averaged 775,766, down 8% over a year earlier, while Sunday circulation fell 6% to 1,172,005.
The Times attributed the declines to changes in two cut-rate programs. In November, the newspaper eliminated free daily delivery to an average of nearly 29,000 Southern California hotel guests.
In January, the paper increased to 45 cents from 9 cents the rate it charges schools to receive the paper under the Times in Education program. The rate hike triggered a drop in school subscriptions to 20,985 copies on an average weekday from 59,472 copies.
The Times is among many papers that have tried to eliminate cut-rate and free distribution in favor of delivery to customers who seek out the paper.
Times executives said they were heartened that weekday papers delivered to homes and sold at newsstands increased 0.3% to 741,665. Such sales of the Sunday paper declined 2.7% to 1,157,332.
"The September statement reflects our ongoing focus on individually paid circulation," Times Publisher David D. Hiller said. "Our vast reach throughout Southern California remains unsurpassed as does our commitment to serving the evolving needs of our readers."
Like other newspapers, The Times has asked advertisers to judge the paper on its readership, which is bigger than circulation because a single print edition of the newspaper can be read by more than one person.
According to survey data, in the latest six-month period The Times averaged 2.2 million readers on weekdays and 3.3 million on Sunday slightly higher than in the year-earlier period.
Newspaper advocates point to similar figures nationally and particularly note an increase in the audience for newspapers' websites.
The Newspaper Assn. of America reported that an average of 57 million people well over one-third of Internet users visited at least one newspaper website each month in the third quarter of this year, a 24% increase over the same period last year.
"Data that measure the expanded audience is precisely what advertisers want to enhance their understanding of consumer use across newspapers' multiple media platforms," John F. Sturm, the newspaper group's president, said Monday in a statement. "Simply focusing on print circulation numbers in a vacuum obscures that understanding."
Large newspapers that reported circulation data for six months that ended in September
Newspaper Circulation Change
USA Today 2,269,509 -1.3%
Wall Street 2,043,235 -1.9%
N.Y. Times 1,086,798 -3.5%
L.A. Times 775,766 -8%
N.Y. Times 704,011 +5.3%
Daily News (N.Y.) 693,382 +1%
Wash. Post 656,297 -3.3%
Chicago 576,132 -1.7%
Houston 508,097 -3.6%
Newsday 413,579 -4.9%
Source: Editor & Publisher
Newspaper Circulations Slide More
Broad Decline May Hasten
Move to Hone Web Focus;
New York Tabloids Log Gains
By EMILY STEEL
October 31, 2006; Page B2
Nearly every major U.S. newspaper suffered circulation declines in the past six months, according to the newspaper industry's twice-yearly report from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the latest confirmation of the difficulties facing the industry as readers flock to the Web and other outlets for news.
Average daily circulation of the 770 newspapers reporting results to the ABC dropped 2.8% on a year-to-year basis during the six months ended Sept. 30, according to an analysis from the Newspaper Association of America, an industry-trade group. The drop in circulation follows a decline of 2.5% during the reporting period ended March 31 of this year and a 2.6% decline in the year-earlier period. Average Sunday circulation at 619 of the country's newspapers fell 3.4% in the most recent six months, according to the NAA. The circulation figures are preliminary and subject to audit by the ABC.
The circulation report, which comes on the heels of several major publishers reporting weaker ad revenue for the third quarter, is likely to reinforce concerns among investors about the industry's prospects. Those concerns have prompted some investors to push companies such as Tribune Co. to restructure or put themselves on the market.
The weaker circulation numbers may fuel efforts by publishers to adjust their business model to put more emphasis on the Web. Newspaper Web sites increased total audience by an average of 8%, according to an NAA analysis of more than 100 newspapers in the nation's top markets.
Some of the biggest declines occurred among the nation's large metropolitan daily papers, including several that have either changed hands or whose future business model is in doubt.
Tribune's Los Angeles Times posted the biggest percentage decline among the nation's top 25 papers, reporting an 8% six-month drop in total paid circulation to 775,766 compared with a year ago. Tribune's board is exploring a sale of the company, under pressure from shareholders unhappy with the company's stock price. Tribune's other major papers reported slightly smaller six-month declines: Chicago Tribune's circulation fell 1.7% while Newsday was down 5%.
Total paid circulation at the Philadelphia Inquirer, a former McClatchy Co. paper purchased this year from Knight Ridder Inc. and then sold this summer to an investor group led by Brian Tierney, chief executive of Philadelphia Media Holdings LLC, dropped 7.6% to 330,622.
At New York Times Co.'s Boston Globe, circulation dropped 6.7% to 386,415. Speculation about the Globe's future intensified last week after it emerged that former General Electric Co. Chairman Jack Welch had discussed with a group of Bostonians the possibility of launching a bid for the paper. The Times hasn't given any indication of wanting to sell the Globe, saying yesterday it views the paper as an important asset.
National newspapers managed less significant circulation drops. Gannett Co.'s USA Today retained its status as the nation's largest-circulation newspaper with total paid circulation at 2,269,509, down 1.3%. The Wall Street Journal, the nation's second-largest paper, published by Dow Jones & Co., reported a 1.9% decrease in total paid circulation to 2,043,235. The New York Times, the country's third-largest paper, saw its circulation decrease 3.5% to 1,086,798.
Several papers, including the Journal and Los Angeles Times, said "individually paid circulation" -- excluding bulk sales to offices, hotels and other places -- reflects a more accurate picture of circulation for advertisers. Individually paid subscriptions increased 9.2% to 1.428 million at the Journal, compared with last year. Daily individually paid circulation at the Los Angeles Times increased 0.3% to 741,665.
Of the nation's top 10 newspapers, only New York's tabloid rivals -- New York Post and New York Daily News -- reported higher total paid weekday circulation. With a 5.1% increase to 704,011, News Corp.'s New York Post emerged ahead of its rival New York Daily News, which reported a 1% increase to 693,382 in total paid weekday circulation. The New York Post's increase in circulation pushed it ahead of the Washington Post as well and made it the country's fifth-largest daily. The Washington Post's circulation fell 3.3% to 656,297.
The Chicago Sun-Times and Dallas Morning News didn't file data, pending the completion of their next six-month audits.
Write to Emily Steel at firstname.lastname@example.org
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If the Dems return to power, look for a big change in the internet and the disappearance of FR and sites like it.
Newspapers used to be the best thing with which to clean windows. It was something in the ink that aided cleaning.
But, since most newspapers changed to a soy-based ink, they're not even good for cleaining windows anymore.
Total paid circulation at the Philadelphia Inquirer, a former McClatchy Co. paper purchased this year from Knight Ridder Inc. and then sold this summer to an investor group led by Brian Tierney, chief executive of Philadelphia Media Holdings LLC, dropped 7.6% to 330,622.
If it doesn't promote the liberal agenda, it's not news.
Happy Halloween to the weenies at the NYT.
This info is not new !
I read about this yesterday at NewsBusters.org which was
linked to an article at Michele Malkin's website .
She got her info from PUBLISHERS & EDITORS .
That site did point out that The New York Post was a tabloid .
>>Source: Editor & Publisher<<
Oh yeah, got that reversed there .
These particular article in the New York Times, LA Times and the WSJ were published today. They are reporting on the Audit Bureau of Circulation's FAS-FAX report released yesterday.
Articles that chronicle the death of the Dinosaur Media cannot be posted too much.
Hey, here is another factor- -
The New York Post is the only newspaper that reported Keith Olbermann's panic attack when he discovered that someone had mailed him a 'Prank Anthrax' letter .
The New York Daily News reported the incident in Clinton's Harlem office the other day, and did so in a semi-humorous way :-)
Maybe the American People like to read about such stuff .
The NY Post got high circulation in the 1980's by headlining stories about serial killers .
>>Articles that chronicle the death of the Dinosaur Media cannot be posted too much.
TOP 20 U.S. NEWSPAPERS, BY CIRCULATION
Newspaper Circulation Change from March-Sept. 2006
1. USA Today 2,269,509 -1.3%
2. The Wall Street Journal 2,043,235 -1.9%
3. The New York Times 1,086,798 -3.5%
4. Los Angeles Times 775,766 -8%
5. New York Post 704,011 +5.1%
6. New York Daily News 693,382 +1%
7. The Washington Post 656,297 -3.3%
8. Chicago Tribune 576,132 -1.7%
9. Houston Chronicle 508,097 -3.7%
10. Newsday, Long Island 410,579 -5%
11. The Arizona Republic 397,294 -2.6%
12. The Boston Globe 386,415 -6.7%
13. The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., 378,100 -5.5%
14. San Francisco Chronicle 373,805 -5.4%
15. Star Tribune of Minneapolis-St. Paul 358,887 -4.2%
16. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 350,157 -3.5%
17. The Plain Dealer, Cleveland 336,939 -0.6%
18. The Philadelphia Inquirer 330,622 -7.6%
19. Detroit Free Press 328,628 -3.6%
20. The Oregonian 310,803 -6.8%
Leading U.S. Newspapers Take Huge Circ Hits
by Erik Sass, Tuesday, Oct 31, 2006 7:45 AM ET
NEWSPAPERS ARE TAKING BIG HITS across the board, according to the most recent semi-annual FAS-FAX report from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC). During the six months ending in September, total daily circulation sank 2.8% compared to the same period last year, while Sunday circulation dropped 3.4%. The latest round of bad news reinforces the last FAS-FAX report covering the six-month period up to March 2006, which showed total paid circulation sinking 2.5% from last year. The previous report, covering the six months before September 2005, had total paid circulation down 2.6%.
The U.S.'s leading national and regional dailies were affected to varying degrees. The New York Times saw daily and Sunday circulation fall about 3.5% to about 1,087,000 and 1,624,000, respectively. The Washington Post daily circ fell 3.3% to 656,000, and Sunday fell 3.6% to 930,000. USA Today's daily circulation fell 1.3% to about 2,269,000. And at The Wall Street Journal, daily circ dipped 2% to about 2,043,000, while the weekend edition sank 6.7% to 1,946,000.
The ABC report probably won't be much help to the Tribune Company as its tries to drum up buyer interest in its various properties, including its three biggest papers. Flagship Chicago Tribune performed best, with daily circ only dropping 1.7% to 576,000, and Sunday circ dipping 1.3% to 938,000. But the Baltimore Sun's daily circ fell 4.5% to 236,000 as Sunday circ tumbled 9% to 381,000. The embattled Los Angeles Times saw daily circ decline 8% to 776,000 as Sunday circ dropped 6.1% to 1,172,000.
Some of the worst results came from the Boston Globe, another big regional daily owned by the New York Times Company that may also be up for sale. Continuing its free fall, the Globe's daily circ fell 7% to 386,000 and Sunday circ plunged 10% to 587,000. Not coincidentally, the Times' New England group, led by the Globe, has also been the company's poorest performing division in terms of ad revenue.
That said, the Globe is not alone. Other big-city papers are beset with circulation woes.
The Philadelphia Inquirer lost 7.6% of its daily circulation, ending up at 331,000, while Sunday circ dropped 4.5% to 682,000. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution held its own in daily circ, which sank just 3.5% to 350,000--but took a big hit on Sundays, which fell 8% to 524,000. The combined English- and Spanish-language editions of the Miami Herald turned in similar numbers, with daily circ down 8.8% to 266,000, and Sunday circ down 8.4% to 459,000. The San Francisco Chronicle's daily circ fell 5.4% to 374,000, as Sunday circ fell 6.3% to 433,000. Finally, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune's daily circ fell 4.2% to 359,000, and took a 6.4% hit in Sunday circ, ending at 596,000.
>>"People who get their news from the internet, or what they think is news..."
If it doesn't promote the liberal agenda, it's not news.
So much of what is on The 'Net is left-wing .
There is a gagaload of Liberal Material on these endless moonbat blogs ~ !
From the Baltimore Sun
Circulation falls again at most big newspapers
Decline averages nearly 3%; Sun daily figure drops 4.5%
Click here to find out more!
By Nick Madigan
October 31, 2006
Circulation figures at most major urban newspapers, including The Sun, continued falling over the past year, according to Audit Bureau of Circulations figures released yesterday that showed a print media industry beset by competition from the Internet and new forms of technology.
Daily circulation dropped an average 2.8 percent at the 770 newspapers that reported numbers for the six-month period that ended on Sept. 30 compared with the corresponding period last year. Circulation at 619 Sunday papers was down 3.4 percent.
Among the few papers to announce good news was the New York Post, which has been trying to overtake its bitter rival, the New York Daily News, for years and finally did so. The splashy tabloid, which specializes in crime and celebrity news, vaulted over both the News and The Washington Post to become the nation's fifth-largest newspaper. Its daily circulation was up 5.1 percent, for a total of 704,011 copies.
Most other papers saw declines - in some cases, big ones. Among the big-city papers most affected, the Los Angeles Times - owned, like The Sun, by Chicago's Tribune Co. - saw its daily circulation drop 8 percent, to 775,766, while its Sunday editions fell 6 percent, to 1,172,005. Tribune recently replaced The Times' publisher after a dispute over staffing.
The company's Chicago Tribune was less badly hit in the new tabulations, dropping 1.7 percent in daily circulation, to 576,132, and by 1.3 percent on Sundays, to 937,907.
The Sun's daily circulation declined 4.5 percent, to 236,172, while Sunday circulation was down 9.1 percent, to 380,701.
The ABC figures include so-called "other-paid" circulation, meaning copies bought in bulk, mostly as part of advertising promotions, a category that The Sun and other papers have been reducing because it is not valued highly by advertisers. On Sundays alone, The Sun has cut such circulation by nearly 70 percent, or more than 14,000 papers, said Tim Thomas, vice president for marketing.
Rival not a factor
Thomas said the launch in April of The Examiner, a free competing newspaper whose circulation is not audited by ABC, appears to have had "basically no impact" on The Sun's numbers. The Sun's daily circulation has remained steady since The Examiner began publishing, the ABC figures show. The Examiner does not publish a Sunday edition.
Thomas said total readership of The Sun and other newspapers has increased when online readers are taken into account. He said the combined readership of The Sun and BaltimoreSun.com is up by almost 10,000 readers over the 12-month period that ended in February 2006, for an average weekly audience of almost 1.3 million. The Sun reported last week that a group of Baltimore business leaders, headed by former Baltimore County Executive Theodore G. Venetoulis, would try to buy the paper from Tribune, which owns 11 newspapers and is studying whether to sell the company or some of its properties.
The new circulation numbers are a sobering echo of the newspaper's industry's troubles. The country's largest circulation daily, USA Today, dropped 1.3 percent, to 2,269,509, while its runner-up, The Wall Street Journal, was down 1.9 percent, to 2,043,235, on weekdays, and 6.7 percent, to 1,945,830, in its weekend edition.
The third-largest paper, The New York Times, lost 3.5 percent daily and Sunday. The Washington Post saw daily circulation dip 3.3 percent and Sunday 3.6 percent.
Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a research organization that evaluates the performance of the press, said that while declines in newspaper circulation began as far back as 1990, they were generally under 1 percent a year. In 2004, the overall drop grew to about 2 percent.
"So now you're seeing some pretty dramatic numbers," Rosenstiel said. "On its face, 3 percent is not a huge number, but if each year the newspaper business loses 3 percent of its circulation, it doesn't take very long for this to become critical."
Reflections of a Newsosaur
Musings and (occasional urgent warnings) of a veteran media executive, who fears our news-gathering companies are stumbling to extinction
Monday, October 30, 2006
More of less
To no ones surprise, circulation continued sliding at most of the nations metro papers over the last six months.
But a significant portion of the decline results directly from the industrys long-term, and arguably long-overdue, initiative to eliminate inefficient vanity and promotional circulation.
This is not to say that bad circulation is a good thing. Just that it may not be as bad as it seems. One can hope
Average circulation in the last six months fell 2.8% daily and 3.4% Sunday, according to an Editor & Publisher analysis based on reports from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the industry-funded monitoring group.
Some of the drop, doubtless, results from the growing popularity of the digital media. Squeezing lemons into lemonade as fast as it could, the Newspaper Association of America responded to the circulation drop with a study reporting that 58 million Americans visited newspaper websites for an average of 1.37 minutes per day in September.
Notwithstanding the demographic and competitive pressures eroding newspaper readership, a notable, if not precisely quantifiable, portion of the loss results from a strategic restructuring occasioned by the industrys need to bolster its profitability in the face of weak sales.
To avoid reporting a vertiginous plunge in circulation all at once, most publishers have been whittling away at their non-strategic circulation for the last few years. If and when circulation stabilizes, you will know they have finished their housecleaning. The trimming is taking place in three areas:
:: Vanity circulation Publishers increasingly are deciding to stop schlepping papers to thinly penetrated locations far from their core markets. Beyond being an expensive indulgence, vanity circulation is little prized by most advertisers. It makes perfect sense to say bye-bye to the boonies.
:: Discount circulation Although 60% of a typical metros circulation consists of loyal subscribers who pay full price, a paper trying to maintain level circulation from year to year is forced to run continuous discount promotions to gain enough readers to make up the other 40%. As most advertisers will readily agree, it makes perfect sense for publishers to get off this high-cost, no-win treadmill.
:: Third-party circulation A few years ago, newspapers got the idea that they could beef up their circulation by getting third parties, like hotels and car dealers, to buy discounted papers that then would then be given to readers for free. Given the high cost of producing and the dubious value of advertising in giveaway papers, it makes perfect sense for the industry to junk this junk circulation.
With circulation executives exhibiting so much good sense, maybe the news will be better next year. One can hope
With Tribune on Block, L.A. Times Circulation Down 8%
Drop is Steepest Among Major U.S. Newspapers
By Frank Ahrens
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 31, 2006; D03
The Los Angeles Times lost 8 percent of its daily circulation -- the most of any of the nation's largest newspapers -- over the past six months, potentially lowering its value even as suitors line up to bid on its parent company.
Nationally, newspaper circulation has been sliding since 1987 and the past six months were no exception. Overall circulation was down 2.8 percent from the comparable period last year. But the pain was felt worse in some cities than in others. The smaller-circulation Miami Herald, for example, was down 9 percent for daily and Sunday, while the New York tabloids -- the Post and Daily News -- gained.
The L.A. Times is owned by Chicago-based Tribune Co., which has put itself up for sale as the result of a boardroom war. A minority of board members are unhappy with the company's performance over the past year and think the company would be worth more split up or sold off.
On Friday, two private-equity groups -- Bain Capital of Boston and Thomas H. Lee Partners of Boston combined with Texas Pacific Group of Fort Worth -- met Tribune's deadline for expressing interest in buying the company, said sources with knowledge of the submissions who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the bidding is private. Tribune's market capitalization is $8 billion.
Tribune's sentimental flagship is the Chicago Tribune, but the L.A. Times is its largest newspaper and accounts for about one-quarter of Tribune revenue. The Times has been at the heart of Tribune's cost-cutting efforts in recent months; Chicago executives fired Times publisher Jeffrey M. Johnson this month for refusing to cut more jobs.
The 8 percent drop in circulation was recorded in April through September and left the Times with a daily circulation of 775,766, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which monitors newspaper sales. The Times's Sunday circulation for the period was down 6 percent, to 1.2 million. The Times publisher said the big drop was attributable to low-value circulation -- such as giveaways -- that the paper cut to save money.
Other Tribune papers fared slightly better. Daily circulation at the Chicago Tribune was down 1.7 percent; the Hartford Courant was down 3.9 percent; the Baltimore Sun was down 4.4 percent; and Newsday was down 4.9 percent.
Tribune shares fell 50 cents in morning trading in reaction to the circulation news but mostly recovered during the day, closing down 2 cents at $33.45.
If the Times's circulation slide is the result of readers actively fleeing the paper, the company's value could be reduced as the sale process goes forward, said James C. Goss, an analyst with Barrington Research Associates Inc. of Chicago. That could lead bidders such as Bain and Lee to lowball Tribune, offering less per share to buy the company.
Analysts place Tribune's value at about $35 per share.
But if the 8 percent loss is the result of what Goss called "corporate choice" -- meaning that Tribune allowed low-value circulation to seep away -- that would be seen as smart corporate policy and could raise the value of the company.
However, allowing overall circulation to drop too far can result in lowered ad rates.
In a written statement, Times publisher David D. Hiller said his paper was focusing on "individually paid circulation," or full-price circulation. In that respect, the Times's circulation was up one-third of 1 percent over the past six months, yesterday's data showed.
Newspapers receive credit for other forms of circulation, such as "third-party sales," when a retailer agrees to buy a large number of newspapers at a reduced rate then give them away as a promotional tool. That kind of Times circulation was down 67 percent, the paper said.
The Washington Post lost 3.3 percent of its daily and 2.6 percent of its Sunday circulation in the same period. The New York Times was down 3.5 percent daily and Sunday. USA Today, the nation's largest newspaper, lost 1.3 percent.
In New York, the tabloid wars have been good for the industry: The New York Post's circulation was up 5 percent, while the Daily News's rose 1 percent.
POST ON TOP
By BILL HOFFMANN, JENNIFER FERMINO DAVID K. LI & ANDY SOLTIS
October 31, 2006 --
New York Post Is Top Tabloid - Watch Now
Click here to view photo gallery
Thank you, New York!
The New York Post made newspaper history yesterday, leapfrogging the Daily News and The Washington Post to become the fifth-largest paper in the country - and it's all thanks to you.
The Post reported a circulation jump of 5.1 percent, to a whopping 704,011 copies a day Monday to Friday for the six months ended Sept. 30. That's up 34,348 copies from a year ago - and an astounding 274,369 copies a day from 10 years ago.
"This is a great and historic day for The Post," said Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive officer of News Corp., which owns The Post.
"We have created a newspaper with a unique voice that reflects the heart and soul of New York, and today's publisher's statement, which for the first time places us ahead of the Daily News and in the top five newspapers in the country, is a testament to the vitality of the paper and the cherished role it plays in the life of this city."
What's your favorite Post headline?
Post your comments here
The new circulation figures, reported in a publisher's statement and subject to audit, prove what savvy New Yorkers have known for years - the Daily News is yesterday's news.
The News' circulation has steadily declined from the nearly 1.3 million copies it sold daily in 1986 - about twice the circulation of The Post at the time - to only 693,382 reported yesterday.
"This is a joyous occasion for the paper and its readers," Post Editor-in-Chief Col Allan said, adding that the secret of the paper's success was simple: Give the people what they want.
"The first question we ask every morning is: What do our readers - our bosses - want to see in tomorrow's paper?" he said. "And then we get it for them - the best sports in town, great gossip and features, hard-hitting news, and opinion that shapes the debate."
Post readers - the famous, the infamous and the just plain Joes - were quick to offer their congratulations on the stunning circulation breakthrough.
"To a paper that is as filthy as my mind - congratulations!" said Madonna, who had just landed in the Big Apple with her newly expanded family.
"Congratulations!" echoed Yoko Ono.
Author Dominick Dunne, chronicler of the rich and the scandalous, said he was genuinely surprised to hear The Post had beaten the News.
"I thought it was already in first place," he said. "It's been a front-runner for me for a long time. I read all the papers every morning, but I always start my day with The Post. It excites me."
Our loyal and ever-growing army of readers is the reason The Post has been able to keep our circulation going north while others are going south. The only papers bigger than us now are USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
And they'd better watch out, because The Post is gunning for them now.
"We're not done yet," said Allan. "This is the most exciting and vibrant newspaper in the country, and our readers know it - that's why they keep spreading the word and we keep getting bigger."
Even the targets of the occasional Post barb - who know we love them deep down - couldn't help but congratulate us on the big news.
"Congratulations on a job well done - 365 days of valuable information! We love the New York Post," said Lizzie Grubman.
"What would New York be without Page Six?" said Alec Baldwin. And it wasn't just celebrities who were celebrating The Post's success yesterday - it was our readers, the people who make us the best paper in the city.
"The Post keeps me updated," said Nancy Beresford, 18, of The Bronx. "There's a lot more info than in other papers. I understand everything that's going on."
Dennis Nobrega, a security guard at Bryant Park, said he loved the daily round-up of cops and robbers. "I like the Blotter. It keeps me informed about neighborhood crime," the Brooklynite said.
In yesterday's figures reported to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, most newspapers saw big drops - with the Los Angeles Times falling 8 percent, the Miami Herald down 8.8 percent, and The New York Times down 3.5 percent.
Former Daily News Editor-in-Chief Ed Kosner said he and the rest of the brass at the city's second-fiddle newspaper knew the writing was on the wall a few years ago - he even forecast The Post overtaking the News in his memoirs.
"In my book, I predicted this would happen right about now," he said yesterday.
Post fans said the paper is simply a "must-read" for anyone who lives in the city. "It's alive. The paper is terrific," said former Mayor Ed Koch. "I start reading newspapers at 5 in the morning every day, and reading The Post is like getting that fresh, first wonderful cup of coffee. That's what it's like reading the New York Post!"
CNN's Larry King said of The Post's surge, "What next? USA Today? This is getting out of hand."
Joan Rivers said she, too, is a longtime Post fan. "I've been reading The Post since it was on papyrus," she quipped. "I love gossip."
And Dick Wolf, the creator and producer of the "Law & Order" empire, called from Canada to get in his two cents: "I read The Post first. Where else would I get my stories?"
Newspapers report further declines in circulation in 2006
Their Web traffic gained as printed copies continued to drop in the spring and summer.
By Joseph N. DiStefano
Inquirer Staff Writer
Newspaper circulation continued to drop during the spring and summer, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations' yearly sales report for printed newspapers during the six months that ended Sept. 30.
At the same time, newspaper Web sites are attracting a rush of new visitors, according to the Newspaper Association of America, citing data from Nielsen/NetRatings surveys of Internet use.
The gain in newspaper Web readers is greater than the loss in newspaper print sales, according to the association. But that is only modest comfort for publishers, who still depend on print for most of their advertising sales and profits.
Newspaper stocks were mixed yesterday, with Gannett Co. Inc. and the McClatchy Co. down slightly, while Journal Register Co. and the Washington Post Co. rose.
Daily circulation at The Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News declined more than 7 percent for the six months ended Sept. 30 from a year earlier, according to data released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which checks newspaper sales for advertisers.
The Inquirer averaged 330,622 weekday sales, down 7.6 percent. The Daily News averaged 112,540, down 7.1 percent. The Sunday Inquirer showed 682,214 sales, a 4.5 percent drop.
It was the first time the twice-yearly data had been posted for Philadelphia since the papers were purchased by Philadelphia Media Holdings L.L.C. in June. "We expect" the next bureau numbers in March "will be better," said Jay Devine, a spokesman for Philadelphia Media.
The Philadelphia newspapers have suffered in the industrywide decline in newspaper advertising by large retailers and other national companies, and publisher and chief executive officer Brian Tierney has said he will have to lay employees off to cut costs.
However, Devine said the company hoped it would be able to increase spending on marketing and promotion, and improve the Web sites it inherited from the newspapers' previous owner, the former Knight Ridder Inc.
The number of monthly visitors to the newspapers' philly.com Web site rose 25 percent, to 1.5 million during July 2006 from 1.2 million a year earlier, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. The service measured "unique visitors" who sampled the sites at least once in a month.
The combination of print and online readership "is what we believe is most appealing to advertisers," Devine said.
Nationally, combined average daily circulation of all 770 newspapers reporting to ABC was 43.7 million, a drop of 2.8 percent. Average combined circulation for 619 Sunday newspapers was 47.6 million, down 3.4 percent.
By contrast, 56.9 million people visited a newspaper Web site at least once during September, up from 53.1 million last October.
Put another way, 1.3 million Americans stopped buying newspapers, on average, each day, while 3.8 million started visiting newspaper Web sites at least once a month. (The typical national newspaper Web site visitor checks in twice a week, according to Nielsen/ NetRatings.)
Separately, Philadelphia Media told workers in a company bulletin that it expects to settle contracts with unions representing half of its 2,000 unionized workers by tonight's deadline.
The company said the exception was the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia. The Guild, a unit of the Communications Workers of America, is the newspapers' largest union; it represents advertising, newsroom and circulation workers.
More than 400 marchers attended a noontime rally sponsored by the Guild outside the newspapers' headquarters yesterday. Speakers, including local officers of the AFL-CIO, NAACP, and Communications Workers of America union, called on Philadelphia Media to rescind plans to freeze the Guild's pension plan and alter seniority practices.
Although Guild members voted last week to give his bargaining committee the power to call a strike, Guild president Henry J. Holcomb, an Inquirer reporter, said "we will keep working as long as there's hope of getting a contract."
Joe Lyons, head of the council uniting the newspapers' non-Guild locals, said before the rally that his council was not participating, and that it "might get advertisers upset." Negotiations for the Guild and other major unions at the newspapers were scheduled to continue today.
Of the nation's newspapers with daily circulation of more than 100,000, the following reported the largest percentage decreases for the six months ended Sept. 30.
Newspaper, metro area Pct. chg.
1. Boston Herald... -11.7%
2. Daily News, Los Angeles... -10.7%
3. San Jose Mercury News... -9.4%
4. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette... -8.8%
Miami Herald... -8.8%
6. Los Angeles Times... -8.0%
7. Akron Beacon Journal... -7.9%
8. Contra Costa Times... -7.6%
Philadelphia Inquirer... -7.6%
10. State, Columbia, S.C... . -7.1%
Philadelphia Daily News... -7.1%
SOURCE: Audit Bureau of Circulations
Contact staff writer Joseph N. DiStefano at 215-854-5957 or email@example.com.
Circulation for biggest papers shows few signs of turnaround
By Phil Rosenthal
Tribune media columnist
October 31, 2006
Save only for the warring tabloids, the New York Post and New York Daily News, 18 of the top 20 U.S. newspapers showed slippage in average weekday circulation in the six-month period ending in September, according to figures reported Monday by Schaumburg-based Audit Bureau of Circulations.
The decades-long decline is becoming old news for the newspaper sector, with the latest estimated year-to-year drop among all reporting papers of 2.8 percent weekdays and about 3.4 percent on Sundays.
Fitch Ratings, a global credit-rating agency, said the overall circulation trends are consistent with expectations.
"Larger markets, where there is higher penetration of broadband connections and more competing alternatives for consumer attention, continue to be disproportionately negatively affected," Fitch reported.
Fitch said this threatens to accelerate the shift of advertising dollars, particularly national and classified advertising, to other media, which has caused considerable concern on Wall Street.
"This activity [is expected to] continue to pressure newspaper company share prices and force some management teams to contemplate revisions to their capital structure parameters," Fitch said.
The Newspaper Association of America, an industry group, offered its own analysis to counterbalance the circulation decline. Citing statistics from Nielsen/Net Ratings, the association said that among more than 100 newspapers in top markets, newspaper Web sites increased total audience by an average of 8 percent.
"At a time when competition for audiences is at an all-time high, it is more vital than ever for newspapers to provide information that most accurately reflects total audience," association President and Chief Executive John Sturm said in a prepared statement. "Data that measure the expanded audience is precisely what advertisers want to enhance their understanding of consumer use across newspapers' multiple media platforms. Simply focusing on print circulation numbers in a vacuum obscures that understanding."
The Chicago Tribune, with declines in total paid circulation of 1.7 percent weekdays and 1.3 percent Sundays, was able to pick up ground by losing less circulation than others.
In fact, the Tribune is now the third-largest Sunday paper in the country, with 937,907 copies, overtaking the Washington Post, because the Post suffered a roughly 3.7 percent slide to slip to fourth, at 930,619. The Tribune reported separately that its Sunday home-delivery circulation is 693,978, which the paper says is an all-time high and up 2.8 percent from last year.
The Tribune is the No. 8 weekday paper nationally, at 576,132, down from 586,122. Part of that year-to-year decline was attributed to the shift of its RedEye edition to entirely free distribution. Individually paid circulation from home delivery and single-copy sales of the Tribune was up 0.1 percent, to 554,180.
All 11 daily Tribune Co. newspapers showed declines, in part because the company is among those in the industry focusing more on individual paid circulation than bulk sales.
Tribune's Los Angeles Times, the nation's No. 2 Sunday paper and No. 4 weekday paper, slipped 6.1 percent on Sundays, to 1,172,005 copies, and fell 8 percent daily, to 775,766. Another steep plunge came at Tribune's Baltimore Sun, which fell 9.1 percent on Sundays.
Not included in the ABC numbers were the Chicago Sun-Times and the Dallas Morning News, which because of previous circulation misstatements are required to undergo additional audits.
In the suburbs, Paddock Publications Inc.'s Daily Herald of Arlington Heights showed a gain of 171 copies weekdays, to 151,200. Its Sunday edition was up 190 copies, to 151,767.
Gannett Co.'s USA Today remains the top paper in paid weekday circulation despite a 1.3 percent decline, to 2,269,509, followed by Dow Jones Co.'s Wall Street Journal (down 1.9 percent, to 2,043,235) and New York Times (down 3.5 percent, to 1,086,798).
The New York Times is the No. 1 Sunday paper, slipping 3.5 percent, to 1,623,697 copies.
New York's Post and Daily News each gained circulation. The Post's 5.1 percent increase, to 704,011, enabled it to move into fifth place in daily circulation, surging past the Daily News, which rose 1 percent, to 693,382, and Washington Post, which fell 3.3 percent, to 656,297.
- - -
With the exception of two competing New York City tabloids, weekday circulation for the top U.S. newspapers declined during the latest six-month audit period. The top Sunday editions also lost readers.
AVERAGE WEEKDAY CIRCULATION
For the top 10 U.S. papers
NEWSPAPER CIRCULATION CHANGE FROM 2005
AS OF SEPT. 30
USA Today 2,269,509 -1.32%
Wall Street Journal 2,043,235 -1.94
New York Times 1,086,798 -3.50
Los Angeles Times 775,766 -8.02
New York Post 704,011 +5.13
New York Daily News 693,382 +1.04
Washington Post 656,297 -3.31
Chicago Tribune 576,132 -1.70
Houston Chronicle 508,097 -3.69
Newsday 410,579 -4.95
AVERAGE SUNDAY CIRCULATION
For the top 5 U.S. papers
NEWSPAPER CIRCULATION CHANGE FROM 2005
AS OF SEPT. 30
New York Times 1,623,697 -3.50
Los Angeles Times 1,172,005 -6.06
Chicago Tribune 937,907 -1.33
Washington Post 930,619 -3.65
New York Daily News 780,196 -0.15
Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations
Even that number is inflated. Most hotels put copies of USA today in front of guest room doors every day. Half of them end up being picked up by housekeeping staff a few hours later (my observation, anyway). I'll bet actual voluntary paid circulation is much lower.
Fewer readers of papers
Circulation drops at daily publications again nationwide
- Carolyn Said, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
U.S. daily newspaper circulation slumped 2.8 percent and Sunday circulation fell 3.4 percent during the six months that ended in September, according to industry data released Monday.
The continuing circulation tumble -- the fourth consecutive decline tracked by the industry's semiannual report -- underscored the rapid migration of readers to the Internet and other news sources.
The numbers are from the Newspaper Association of America's analysis of data supplied by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Daily total circulation of 43.7 million was based on data for 770 newspapers, while Sunday total circulation of 47.6 million was based on 619 newspapers.
The Newspaper Association put a positive spin on the Internet migration. Combining print circulation with views of newspaper Web sites shows the total audience growing by 8 percent, after eliminating duplication, it said. That analysis was based on Web usage data supplied by Nielsen/NetRatings.
The trade group said 36.5 percent of all Internet users, almost 57 million people, viewed newspaper Web sites during the July-through-September period, up 24 percent from the same time last year. Those visitors averaged more than 41 minutes each per month on the sites, up 10.9 percent from 2005.
"Readership is a better metric than circulation," said John Kimball, chief marketing officer at the Newspaper Association in Tysons Corner, Va. People living together who share papers -- what is called pass-along readership -- aren't counted in circulation figures, he said. And adding in Internet users improves the picture. "On average, most newspaper Web sites lift their total audiences something in the neighborhood of 7 to 8 percent when you add the Web site into the print product," Kimball said.
But online advertising rates are much lower than those for print. Kimball said most newspapers bring in about 7 to 9 percent of their revenue from their Internet enterprises, although that revenue is growing at a healthy 25 to 30 percent a year.
Experts said it is imperative for newspapers to learn how to balance the needs of their audience with the transition to digital delivery.
"Newspapers have not yet figured out how to continue giving a rich diet of information to their existing print audience while persuading the online audience that their factual presentation of news is the most reliable," said James Naughton, retired president of the Poynter Institute and former executive editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "The mistake too many organizations are making is to say, 'Let's slash the newsroom so we can do a better job of building an audience on the Internet.' That's like saying we don't care about our audience. Some people are leaving (newspaper subscriptions) because they're disgusted with the diminishing value of the print product."
Many newspapers show lower circulation numbers because they have cut back on discounted subscriptions, as well as papers delivered to schools, hotels, hospitals and other public places.
Still, the most recent numbers show clear evidence of newspapers failing to hold on to subscribers. Of the top 20 newspapers, only two -- rival tabloids the New York Post and the New York Daily News -- had circulation increases.
At The Chronicle, which was the 14th-largest paper as measured by circulation, daily circulation fell 5.3 percent to 373,805, and Sunday circulation fell 7.3 percent to 432,957.
Daily circulation plummeted in some major cities. At the Los Angeles Times, it fell 8 percent to 775,766. At the Boston Globe, it was down 6.7 percent to 386,415. Both papers are considered acquisition targets.
At the country's two largest papers, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, circulation drops were better than average. USA Today fell 1.3 percent to 2,269,509, while the Journal dropped 1.9 percent to 2,043,235. At the third-largest paper, the New York Times, daily circulation was down 3.5 percent to 1,086,789.
E-mail Carolyn Said at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Average paid weekday circulation of the nation's 20 largest newspapers
for the six-month period ending Sept. 30, as reported Monday by the Audit
Bureau of Circulations. Change is from the comparable period last year.
Rank Paper Circulation Change
Today 2,269,509 -1.3%
2 Wall Street Journal 2,043,235 -1.9
3 New York Times 1,086,798 -3.5
4 Los Angeles Times 775,766 -8.0
5 New York Post 704,011 +5.1
6 New York Daily News 693,382 +1.0
7 Washington Post 656,297 -3.3
8 Chicago Tribune 576,132 -1.7
9 Houston Chronicle 508,097 -3.7
10 Newsday (Long Island, N.Y.) 410,579 -5.0
11 Arizona Republic 397,294 -2.6
12 Boston Globe 386,415 -6.7
13 Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger 378,100 -5.5
14 The Chronicle 373,805 -5.3
15 Minneapolis Star Tribune 358,887 -4.2
16 Atlanta Journal-Constitution 350,157 -3.5
17 Cleveland Plain Dealer 336,939 -0.6
18 Philadelphia Inquirer 330,622 -7.6
19 Detroit Free Press 328,628 -3.6
20 Portland Oregonian 310,803 -6.8
Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations
Page D - 1
Circulation falls again at Times, P-I; online readers up
By Eric Pryne
Seattle Times staff reporter
Circulation at Seattle's two daily newspapers continued to drop over the past year, according to figures released Monday.
The decline is part of a long-running, industrywide trend. But executives at The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer maintained that their total regional audience, print and online, actually is growing.
A trade association said that's also true of newspapers nationally.
Average weekday circulation for the six-month period that ended Sept. 30 dipped 1.3 percent at The Seattle Times and 4.9 percent at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer from the same period a year earlier, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
The Times' weekday circulation for the latest reporting period was 212,691, and the P-I's was 126,225, the bureau said.
Circulation of the Sunday newspaper, which is produced almost entirely by The Times but bears the mastheads of both newspapers, dropped 4.1 percent, to 423,275.
The latest declines are less precipitous than those of a year ago, when The Times reported a 7 percent slide and the P-I a 9 percent drop in weekday circulation compared with the previous year. At that time, the papers blamed the declines on one-time moves a newsstand price increase and a decision to cut circulation in parts of Eastern Washington and said circulation would start to level out soon.
The average paid weekday circulation for the largest U.S. newspapers was down at all but two papers for the six-month period ended Sept. 30
Paper % change
USA Today -1.3
The Wall Street Journal -1.9
The New York Times -3.5
Los Angeles Times -8.0
New York Post +5.1
New York Daily News +1.0
The Washington Post -3.3
Chicago Tribune -1.7
Houston Chronicle -3.7
Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations
The Associated Press
Times Vice President Jill Mackie said Monday that the new numbers bear out that prediction. "It's certainly much better news than we have been getting, and more reflective of our real numbers instead of our cutbacks," she said.
But circulation numbers alone no longer reflect newspaper readership accurately, Mackie added.
P-I Editor and Publisher Roger Oglesby agreed: "We have an audience out there that we're reaching in different ways," he said.
Scarborough Research of New York reports that total readership of the two newspapers and their affiliated Web sites in the Greater Seattle area during the 12-month period that ended in February, increased 0.5 percent from the previous year. That's largely because of an 8.3 percent increase in the regional online audience.
The Newspaper Association of America, a trade association, said newspaper Web sites attracted 58 million unique viewers in September, up from 41 million two years earlier. That demonstrates "the importance of applying measurement techniques that more accurately reflect the total newspaper audience," the group said.
Oglesby said the P-I's Web site is getting 30 million page views a month. Mackie said The Times' site attracted more than 37 million page views in September.
Newspapers still rely on the ink-and-paper product for most of their revenue, however. That's why declining print circulation is a major concern.
Nationally, weekday circulation among the 770 newspapers whose totals were reported Monday fell 2.8 percent during the most recent six-month period. The P-I's decline was steeper than that, The Times' less severe.
But Oglesby said that because the papers are bound by a joint-operating agreement (JOA), advertisers are more interested in the total for both papers: a 2.7 percent slide.
He wouldn't discuss why the P-I's circulation continues to drop faster than The Times'. In the past, however, officials at the P-I's parent, The Hearst Corp., have accused The Times of working to sabotage the smaller paper.
Times officials have denied that charge, arguing that readers are choosing the higher-quality product.
Under the 23-year-old JOA, The Times handles circulation and other business functions for both papers, while each maintains competing news and editorial operations.
The Times, which says it has lost money under the arrangement for each of the past six years, has moved to exercise an escape clause in the JOA that could result in termination of the agreement, the P-I's closure or both.
Hearst, which says the P-I couldn't survive outside the JOA, is fighting that attempt.
An arbitrator is scheduled to decide the dispute in the spring.
Few cities Seattle's size still have competing daily newspapers. The Times has maintained for years that the local market no longer can support both. Mackie said Monday that the latest circulation numbers support that view.
Falling circulation is one of several interrelated problems plaguing the newspaper industry. Ad revenue is mostly stagnant and competition from the Internet more intense.
The profits and stock prices of publicly traded newspaper companies are down. Many papers are laying off or buying out employees.
Other area newspapers also saw weekday circulation declines during the six-month reporting period: 5.7 percent at The (Tacoma) News-Tribune; 3.5 percent at the Kent-based King County Journal; and 1.5 percent at The (Everett) Herald.
Nationally, The New York Times' weekday circulation dropped 3.5 percent; The Washington Post's, 3.3 percent; the Los Angeles Times', 8 percent; and the San Francisco Chronicle's, 5.3 percent.
Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or email@example.com
State newspaper sales fall faster than the US average
By Robert Gavin, Globe Staff | October 31, 2006
Circulation at Massachusetts daily newspapers fell faster than the national average over the past year, according to newspaper industry groups.
The Boston Globe's average daily circulation declined 7 percent to about 386,000 in the six months ended Sept. 30, from 414,000 a year earlier.
Daily circulation of the Boston Herald fell 12 percent, to 203,000 from 230,000, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, an independent group that monitors newspaper circulation and readership.
The Globe's Sunday circulation fell 10 percent to 587,000 from 652,000. The Herald's Sunday sales fell 13 percent, to 115,000 from 132,000.
Nationally, daily newspaper circulation fell 2.8 percent, according to an analysis of the audit bureau's data by the Newspaper Association of America. Sunday circulation fell 3.4 percent nationally.
With a technically sophisticated population, Massachusetts is probably seeing readers migrate to Internet news sources faster than the national average, said Lou Ureneck, chairman of Boston University's journalism department.
"It seems ironic that a state with a well-educated, news-hungry population would show reductions in newspaper circulation," Ureneck said. "But this state is an early adopter of technology and highly wired."
Indeed, newspapers across the country are struggling with the transition from print to online media. While online editions are attracting record numbers of readers, they aren't making enough money to offset shrinking circulation and advertising revenues from print.
As a result, some big media companies, such as Tribune Co. of Chicago, are putting papers up for sale to satisfy Wall Street's hunger for bigger profits. In Boston, a local group led by former General Electric Co. chairman Jack Welch and Jack Connors, cofounder of the Boston advertising firm Hill Holliday, is considering a bid to buy the Globe from The New York Times Co.
Average daily newspaper circulation in Massachusetts fell 6 percent overall, as many other Massachusetts dailies reported circulation declines that were steeper than the national average.
Among the largest papers outside of Boston, the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester reported an 11 percent decline in average daily circulation. The T&G, like the Globe, is owned by The New York Times Co. Among other big papers in the state, circulation at The Patriot Ledger of Quincy fell 4 percent and was down 3.5 percent at the Republican of Springfield.
At the Globe, spokesman Alfred S. Larkin Jr. attributed some of the paper's circulation loss to the migration to the Internet. In the same six-month period the Globe's circulation was falling, unique visits to the Globe's online affiliate, Boston.com, averaged 3.9 million a month, up from 3.6 million a year earlier.
"The Globe continues to develop a strategy across print and digital media," Larkin said. "We are continuing to try and build our print readership, while building our online viewership."
Other factors contributing to the decline included cancellations following the accidental release early this year of subscribers' credit card information, Larkin said. In addition, the Globe continues to purposely cut its bulk sales, in which single parties, such as a hotels, schools or airlines, buy many papers, typically at a discount, and distribute them, often for free.
Advertisers look less favorably on bulk circulation because it's difficult to track how many papers actually end up in readers' hands and who those readers are.
Larkin said bulk sales reductions accounted for about one-seventh of daily circulation loss and about half of Sunday's decline
Gwen Gage, spokeswoman for the Herald, said the tabloid cut its daily bulk sales by more than 20,000 papers, accounting for about 80 percent of its daily circulation loss. Bulk sales reductions accounted for about one-fourth of the Sunday losses. Still, Gage said, the paper's readership is growing through its website. The number of unique visitors to the site has increased to 2.1 million a month, an increase of about 500,000 from a year earlier.
Robert Gavin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Newspaper readership still slipping
BY TOM INCANTALUPO
Newsday Staff Writer
October 31, 2006
Most of the nation's largest newspapers, including Newsday, lost still more readers in the six months ending Sept. 30, an industry group said yesterday. Analysts said some of it was voluntary as papers trimmed unprofitable circulation, but that the industry continued to lose ground to electronic and Internet news outlets.
In New York, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal also slipped while the New York Daily News and New York Post countered the trend with increases in daily circulation of 1 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively, that put the Post ahead of the News for the first time.
Average paid weekday circulation at 770 U.S. newspapers reporting fell by 2.8 percent in the six-month period from a year earlier, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, to 43.7 million. Sunday circulation fell by 3.4 percent, to 47.6 million.
The nation's largest paper, USA Today, reported a 1.3 percent drop, to 2.3 million, while No.2 Wall Street Journal fell 1.9 percent to 2,043,235 copies. The New York Times, the third largest, reported daily circulation fell by 3.5 percent from a year earlier, to 1,086,798. Circulation at Newsday, the 10th largest paper, fell by 5 percent, to 410,579 copies.
Media analyst Edward Atorino for the Manhattan brokerage The Benchmark Co. said the average decline was no surprise but that some individual ones stood out, including an 8 percent drop, to 775,766 copies, in daily circulation at the Los Angeles Times, a property of Newsday's owner, Tribune Co. of Chicago. "That's a shocker," he said.
He said papers, including the Los Angeles Times, were cutting back on bulk sales to schools, hotels and the like, which are considered less valuable by advertisers, and also on sales in geographical fringe areas. Other factors in the declines, aside from TV and the Internet, he said, are "do not call" laws that inhibit marketing, and the tendencies of young people to begin reading newspapers later in life than their predecessors, and of older people to stop earlier.
Los Angeles Times publisher David D. Hiller said, "The September statement reflects our ongoing focus on individually paid circulation - the audience advertisers value most."
Atorino attributed the Post's gain to its gossipy Page Six and to contests and other marketing tactics. "They give away a lot of stuff and have all kinds of games," he said. "They promote the hell out of the paper."
Post editor-in-chief Col Allan contended that the Daily News runs just as many contests, though he conceded that Page Six is a major draw. "I just think we have more fun producing the paper," he said. "It has more energy and it's more readable."
But the accuracy of the Post's figures has been the subject of debate between the two papers; an article last week in the News quoted the Audit Bureau saying the Post last year overstated about 6,000 daily sales a day and the number of papers sold in the metropolitan area by more than 10,000 a day.
Newsday publisher Timothy Knight said in a statement to employees that the Long Island paper's figures reflected a focus on full-price home delivery circulation and single copy sales at retail outlets. "We will continue to focus on circulation and readership initiatives that attract and retain readers that are of the highest value to our advertisers," Knight said.
Tribune Co.'s Chicago Tribune newspaper reported a 1.7 percent drop in circulation, to 576,132 copies, in the half year ended Sept. 30.
Under pressure from investors, Tribune management is looking into a possible sale or breakup of the company.
The Newspaper Association of America, a trade group based in Vienna, Va., said the circulation figures fail to reflect significant gains in readers of news-paper Web sites, to a record 58 million during September.
Association president John F. Sturm said in a statement, "The circulation figures are in range with what we expected as publishers are refocusing their marketing efforts on adding and retaining the readers that deliver most value to advertisers and make economic sense."
Newspaper circulation continues to decline
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
By Anya Sostek, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
If circulation figures released yesterday are any indication, things are going from bad to worse in the newspaper industry -- and the Post-Gazette is no exception.
Nationwide, daily newspaper circulation fell an average of 2.8 percent over a six-month period ending in September, according to Newspaper Association of America calculations of figures released by the Chicago-based Audit Bureau of Circulation.
Sunday circulation fell 3.4 percent nationwide over the same time period.
At the Post-Gazette in the last six months, daily circulation fell 8.1 percent, from 230,887 to 212,075, and Sunday circulation fell 7.1 percent, from 382,238 to 354,966.
Post-Gazette President David Beihoff attributed the circulation decline in part to a price increase on Sunday single-copy sales and in part to the elimination of some third-party sales, such as papers sponsored by advertisers that were given away at Steelers games.
"I'm proud that we still have close to a million in net weekly readership," he said.
Daily circulation fell 5.8 percent at the Greensburg Tribune-Review, from 106,671 to 100,478. Sunday circulation there remained virtually unchanged, gaining 20 subscribers to 158,001.
Both Pittsburgh newspapers continue to rank well in Web site usage. Figures from July 2006 released by Nielsen/NetRatings show the Post-Gazette ranked 24th in the nation among newspapers with 1,167,037 unique visitors, and the Tribune-Review ranked 56th, with 588,084 unique users.
Under the new daily circulation numbers, the Post-Gazette ranks 39th among U.S. newspapers, not including the Dallas Morning News and the Chicago Sun-Times, which have yet to report updated figures.
(Anya Sostek can be reached at email@example.com or 412-263-1308.)
Florida's newspapers post declines in circulation
Sentinel Staff Writer
October 31, 2006
Newspaper circulation across the state took another dip during the latest six-month reporting period.
Average weekday circulation -- a key industry measure -- fell 2.7 percent to 2.4 million for the bulk of the state's daily papers, according to the latest figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. At least two newspapers did not file in time to be included in the report.
Leading the decline was The Miami Herald, which saw its average weekday circulation fall nearly 9 percent to 265,583. Circulation at the state's largest newspaper, the St. Petersburg Times, fell 3.2 percent to 288,676.
The Orlando Sentinel's average daily circulation fell 2.5 percent to 214,283 -- performing slightly better than the state as a whole. Sunday circulation, however, dropped 4.3 percent, compared with a 3.8 percent drop for the entire state.
The Sentinel's circulation has fallen significantly during the past few years following a decision to cut back on distribution through area hotels. Two years ago, the paper boasted a circulation of nearly 250,000.
"We've focused our attention on building overall newspaper and Web audience, and stabilizing Orlando Sentinel's circulation in our core market," said Avido Khahaifa, general manager for Orlando Sentinel Communications.
The Miami Herald is employing a similar strategy -- accounting for its significant decline -- eliminating circulation with lesser appeal to advertisers interested in reaching Miami residents, rather than tourists.
"Most of the decline is attributable to a planned reduction in circulation," said Robert Beatty, a spokesman for the Herald.
These declines are hardly new for an industry that continues to struggle to retain readers at a time when the media is increasingly fragmented. Competition comes from television, radio, cable, satellite and the Internet.
Nationwide, average weekday circulation for the six-month period ending Sept. 30, 2006, declined 2.8 percent. Sunday circulation fell 3.4 percent.
"It isn't something that just started to happen last week," said John Kimball, chief marketing officer for the Newspaper Association of America.
The industry, he said, is in a state of transition from a pure newspaper product to one that offers a variety of ways for subscribers to get their news. Judging a newspaper by its paid circulation is an increasingly flawed system, he said.
"Other media are measured by viewership, not by how many television sets are purchased," Kimball said.
Newspaper Web sites are an increasingly important component for the industry. According to the association's analysis of more than 100 top newspapers, Web sites generated significant increases in readers. Total audience grew an average of 8 percent for those newspapers.
Still, not every paper in Florida saw a decline in circulation, with five of the state's smaller papers reporting gains. The largest increase? The Villages Daily Sun saw its average weekday circulation surge 14.6 percent to 26,128.
Tim Barker can be reached at 407-420-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Circulation falls at Star Tribune, many major papers
Staff and wire reports
The Star Tribune and most other big daily newspapers continued to lose circulation in the six months ended in September, according to data released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Average daily circulation for the Star Tribune declined to 358,887, down 4.2 percent from the year-ago period, and average Sunday circulation dropped 6.4 percent to 596,333. That makes the Star Tribune the 15th-largest U.S. newspaper in daily circulation (or the 13th-largest metro daily excluding national dailies USA Today and the Wall Street Journal). On Sundays, the Star Tribune ranked 10th in circulation, according to the bureau's audit for the period ended Sept. 24.
Average daily circulation for all reporting U.S. newspapers was down 2.8 percent, while Sunday circulation was down about 3.4 percent, according to Newspaper Association of America calculations.
U.S. newspaper circulation has been declining steadily on an annual basis since 1987, according to the association, as papers face increasing competition for consumers' time and attention from other media such as the Internet and cable television.
Of the 25 largest newspapers, only three showed growth in daily circulation: the New York Post, up 5.1 percent to 704,011; the New York Daily News, up 1 percent to 693,382, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, up 0.7 percent to 276,588.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press also registered circulation gains, rising 0.2 percent to a daily average of 188,427 and up 0.2 percent to a Sunday average of 245,597, the newspaper reported. The increases "confirm the Pioneer Press' momentum and the success of our local news strategy," Publisher Par Ridder said in a prepared statement.
Ben Taylor, Star Tribune senior vice president for marketing and communications, blamed the Star Tribune's circulation decline largely on "do not call" laws; newspapers no longer can rely on telemarketing to sell more subscriptions. He said, however, that despite lower circulation, readership continues to grow.
The Star Tribune is now reaching 37 percent of its market, he said, up from 35.5 percent a year ago, which he attributed to the newspaper's redesign last year. "We're focused on increasing readership," Taylor said.
Since we cancelled out local newspaper subscription (owned by the NYT), we have to do a lot more scrounging to meet our ongoing need. If it weren't for frequent visits to our local coffee shop where we get free used newspapers, I don't know what we would do. But what if there are no more available someday?
It's a crisis, for sure. One can't line a cat box with what one downloads from the internet!
Ken, post a link to that one. Looks like a keeper...
Here are the top 25 daily newspapers in the U.S. by circulation (with percent change) for the six-month period ending September 2006.
1. USA Today, 2,269,509, down 1.3 percent
2. The Wall Street Journal, 2,043,235, down 1.9 percent
3. The New York Times, 1,086,798, down 3.5 percent
4. Los Angeles Times, 775,766, down 8 percent
5. New York Post, 704,011, up 5.1 percent
6. New York Daily News, 693,382 up 1 percent
7. The Washington Post, 656,297, down 3.3 percent
8. Chicago Tribune, 576,132, down 1.7 percent
9. Houston Chronicle, 508,097, down 3.7 percent
10. Newsday, Long Island, 410,579, down 5 percent
11. The Arizona Republic, 397,294, down 2.6 percent
12. The Boston Globe, 386,415, down 6.7 percent
13. The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., 378,100, down 5.5 percent
14. San Francisco Chronicle, 373,805, down 5.4 percent
15. Star Tribune of Minneapolis-St. Paul, 358,887, down 4.2 percent
16. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 350,157, down 3.5 percent
17. The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, 336,939, down 0.6 percent
18. The Philadelphia Inquirer, 330,622, down 7.6 percent
19. Detroit Free Press, 328,628, down 3.6 percent
20. The Oregonian, 310,803, down 6.8 percent
21. The San Diego Union-Tribune: 304,334, (-3.1%)
22. St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times: 288,676, (-3.2%)
23. The Orange County (Calif.) Register: 287,204, (-3.7%)
24. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch: 276,588, 0.6%
25. The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee: 273,609, (-5.4%)
... Members of the accredited press are invited to apply for an ABC Press Pass. If approved, will be granted reporter access to ABC online data, which includes the FAS-FAX in both PDF and Excel formats.
No link..it was a one page insert inside my paper...
Here's a story of a bunch of saurians standing around watching a bright light in the sky...
The paper chase: What lies ahead? Panel examines the future of newspapers Oct.26, 2006
Copyright © 2006 PRSA. All rights reserved.
The following discussion appears in the fall issue of The Strategist.
Newspapers are under siege from a number of fronts, including industry consolidation, Wall Streets demand for ever-higher profits, the explosion of blogs and other Web-based information channels and the rise of ethnic media in response to changing population demographics that render the very concept of mainstream journalism obsolete.
What lies ahead for newspapers? And what will it mean for journalism, public relations and democracy itself? On Sept. 21, The Strategist hosted a roundtable in San Francisco to discuss the ongoing challenges facing the newspaper industry. Peter Magnani, a senior PR executive with Bank of America, moderated the distinguished panel. More than 70 members of PRSAs San Francisco Chapter were among those in attendance in the Carnelian Room on the 52nd floor of the Bank of America building that morning to get the lowdown on the future of newspapers.
What follows are edited highlights from the 75-minute discussion. John Elsasser
Editors note: On Oct. 20, hours before our press date, we learned that one of our panelists, Chris Lopez, editor of the Contra Costa Times, was reportedly let go because his position became redundant after the papers merger with MediaNews in August. MediaNews officials cited economic pressure felt by the newspaper industry as a reason for Lopezs departure. He thus became an example of the very pressures the panelists were talking about.
Peter Magnani: Newspapers are fighting for survival on just about every front here in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as the rest of the country. Ill ask Chris to start. Do newspapers have a future, and does it even matter?
Chris Lopez, editor, Contra Costa Times: Ill go with this theory that I do in my own daily work. Im going to subscribe to the theory that newspapers are dying and were on our deathbed Im walking dead myself as a newspaper journalist. So what I do is first mourn the fact that Im dying. Then I get over that emotional shock. I still have time to celebrate this print product that I put out every day. So Im going to celebrate it with my work, and Im going to celebrate it with my journalism as long as they let me keep doing it.
Gary Thompson, APR, executive vice president and general manager of the West Coast office of Schwartz Communications: Ive seen the demographics indicating that the average age of the newspaper reader is 55. When I did an informal survey of our agency, most of the people age 55-plus said, Yes, newspapers are going away. For the younger people, 75 percent of those I surveyed read a newspaper. These are men and women who are under the age of 35, and they read papers regularly. I love some of their comments [from the survey]: I love a hard copy paper I can read every night on the bus. Over and over people said newspapers provide more in-depth local coverage than anything else they can get their hands on online. Every single person said they spend time with the newspaper every weekend when they have the time. So for these individuals, its not going away.
Magnani: We used to hear concerns here in the Bay Area and this is happening elsewhere in the country about a newspaper monopoly. Here, we had the Chronicle and the Examiner bound together in a joint-operating agreement. People were concerned that San Francisco was essentially becoming a one-newspaper town. Right now, those seem like the good old days. Now youve got the Chronicle owned by the Hearst Corporation from New York. Whats left of the Examiner has become a tabloid throwaway thats owned by an entrepreneur in Omaha, Neb., and everything else in the Bay Area is owned by Denver-based MediaNews.
Given increasing absentee ownership and consolidation of multiple publications owned by one individual or conglomerate, what are the consequences for local coverage? Where does that leave readers?
Dan Neuharth, Ph.D., award-winning journalist: I take issue with the premise of consolidation. The newspaper business started consolidating into fewer and fewer hands in the 1970s, then big time in the 1980s and 1990s. But look at what happened this year: The second biggest, by circulation, newspaper chain in the country, Knight Ridder, sold itself. Two thirds of it went to McClatchy, and parts of it went here; some went to local owners in Philadelphia. (Editors note: The expanded McClatchy Company will have 32 daily newspapers and 50 nondailies after the planned sale of 12 Knight Ridder papers. McClatchy's dailies will have a combined daily circulation of about 3.2 million, making it the nations second-largest newspaper company measured by daily circulation.)
The concentration of the press in fewer hands has probably gone as far as its going to go. Now its lateral. What that means to readers comes down to whos the editor and whats his or her budget. One of the most fascinating dramas being played out now is at the Los Angeles Times, where the editor and the publisher said to the mother ship of the Tribune Company [on Sept. 14], Were not going to cut the news product anymore. (Editors note: The publisher at the Times, Jeffrey Johnson, was forced to resign on Oct. 5.)
Magnani: Gary, are you seeing any impact in terms of PR practice in either consolidation or just expense accounts for newspapers?
Thompson: Well, not so much in newspapers, but in trade publications where one story might run in five different outlets that are owned by the same publisher. Theres an advantage to that in getting your story out. But in terms of newspapers, were seeing smaller news holes. A lot more stories are syndicated throughout the ownership. You used to be dealing with several journalists who had different opinions and represented different targets. Today, you are often working with one journalist whos getting the story out in several outlets. Thats limiting in terms of the number of different stories you can place.
Lopez: Consolidation is going to shake out in many different ways and in many different forms, though. You walk around the East Bay, and there are ethnic publications that are just growing and growing. Local community weekly publications are a growing part of the industry. Maybe big mainstream newspapers, like the Los Angeles Times, the Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury News, are going to keep having to [reduce] costs, but there are still going to be a lot of newspapers out there in different forms. Its a healthy industry.
Magnani: Kevin conducted a landmark survey in 2005 for New American Media that showed the striking impact of ethnic media in the United States. According to the survey, 45 percent of African-American, Hispanic, Latino, Native-American and Arab-American adults prefer ethnic print and broadcast media to so-called mainstream media counterparts. What is your perspective on the ethnic media?
Kevin Weston, editor in chief of Youth Outlook: I happen to be part of two sectors that are growing ethnic media and youth-oriented media. I have a different perspective on newspapers. What will be the mainstream in the next 10 years? In California, perhaps the Spanish-language press will emerge as the mainstream.
Technology, youth and ethnicity are driving what were going to see in newspapers in the next 10 years. People want local news, and they want it from many different perspectives. So theres room at the table for everyone.
Magnani: The one thing that newspapers seem to be able to agree on is that a large part of their future lies in their online presence. We see papers rushing to create Web strategies and expand their basic print product. But then we hear doubters saying, Well, the more successful you are with the Web site, the more successfully you compete with your core print product, the worse that is for your newspaper.
If newspapers do succeed in striking and then maintaining a good balance between their print and online product, what might that look like? If the balance does tip in favor of online, as many people seem to think it does, whats the implication for newspapers?
Neuharth: In 1972, three-quarters of 30-somethings read a paper every day. Today, its one out of three. The average age [of the newspaper reader] is 55, so its our parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents who are reading newspapers.
But what young people like about media are all the things that newspapers dont have. They like interactivity. They like the fact that its customizable. They like the fact that its easy and fun, that its instant. Instant gratification is big with people under 30. Well, a newspaper is not customizable. The news is 12-hours old. Its not personalizable. Theres not a sense of community like on MySpace. So newspaper publishers are scared.
I agree with what Chris said, that its still a healthy industry despite the fact that 30 years ago there were 61 million newspapers printed daily while today there are 54 million. In that same time, the country has gone from 216 million to 300 million people. How did the country get 84 million people and lose 7 million copies every day? Well, some of them have gone online, or theyve gone to radio or cable. Online is going to be the savior of newspaper companies, not a competitor.
Thompson: I agree with that. What newspapers are doing is merely extending how they produce the news. As we have less time, were more mobile wireless everything is out there. You can receive your news in different ways. You can tailor your news now. But does that take away from the newspaper publishing operation, or are they merely getting smart in extending that?
By the way, this is all about advertising dollars. Lets remember that all of these mediums survive based on what corporations are willing to put into these publications. It doesnt make any difference what the form is as long as youre reaching the audience [advertisers] want to reach.
Magnani: You mention a problem that newspaper companies might face as they continue with the online strategy. Financial success on the Web is a high-volume business. It depends on huge volumes of viewership and page views. An industry leader with an excellent Web site like The New York Times has 500 million page views per month, which is a healthy number. On the other hand, MySpace has 29 billion page hits per month. So the numbers dont seem to support that theres financial salvation for newspapers.
Thompson: Rupert Murdoch bought MySpace, but how much news is on MySpace?
Magnani: So what does all this mean for newspapers?
Lopez: What youre going to see is a partnership created between new and old media companies. Yahoo! will partner with newspapers in a certain way when it comes to the Web and in print. Same with Google, Microsoft and Craigslist. All these types of companies are already in partnership discussions with old media.
Yahoo! got hammered [during the third week of September] by Wall Street when its advertising revenues didnt meet expectations, and the price of that stock dropped. So youre going to even see new media technology companies having to form partnerships with old media because newspapers are cash cows. They generate a lot of money. These business guys know that. Theyre smart, and theyre figuring out how to form partnerships. Newspapers may eventually be owned by new technology, but theyll still exist.
Weston: With the changes that were all talking about, ethnic media outlets are going through exactly the same thing, except that because its print and local, people still access it. Its a trust factor. The San Francisco Sun-Reporter, which is the leading black newspaper in San Francisco, has been around for 60 years. So thats 60 years of trust that theyve built up with the community.
Thompson: One of the most important words you used was trust. We represent a lot of corporations that are looking to reach early adopters and late adopters from a marketing perspective. That means reaching out to communities outside the West or the East Coasts, reaching people outside large geographic communities. The research weve done [in those areas] said that the No. 1 source of trusted news is the newspaper. From a health care perspective, were reaching out through newspapers because theyre highly trusted.
In addition, when you get outside of the coasts and the major geographic areas, theyre a lot like the Bay Area. People are still used to getting their news a certain way. We had a campaign for online banking, and we were trying to get people in Middle America and the South to use online banking. How did we reach them? Through 20 newspapers in those local markets. And trust was the big issue there.
Magnani: Given all the pressures, can journalism survive without newspapers, and can America survive without journalism?
Lopez: Well, if there werent any newspapers, I dont know what I would listen to on the morning radio shows or watch on the morning TV programs. I personally think and obviously Im biased cause Ive been doing this my whole life professional journalists are important to society by keeping us informed and being watchdogs of agencies and government at all levels. So yes, definitely professional journalists, and newspaper journalists have a role to play and will continue to play a role.
Thompson: Journalism keeps my industry alive.
Magnani: Is that true? You need journalism, but do you need newspapers?
Thompson: Newspapers in what form? If youre talking about print form, then probably not. Will there be print versions [of newspapers] 10 years from now? I dont know, but thered better be journalism.
Ive been in the business 35 years. When I started out, you had to explain to people what public relations was. What changed? What changed was the fact that consumers recognized they could go to a journalist and get their side of the story told versus government, versus major corporations. Journalism provides not only an investigative opportunity, but one that represents the community. As you become a parent and your concerns move beyond yourself, journalism becomes critically important in terms of providing not only news, but change significant change to the social environment.
Weston: You can tell stories in multiple ways, which resonates with young people who like to be able to see, touch and hear things that are happening. Newspapers have been slow to recognize that. The Washington Post and The New York Times do a pretty good job at the multimedia game.
I think that the business has to change in that way, that the folks who are actually doing journalism, the kind of journalism that we need, are going to have to be able to do it in a way that makes sense for the Web.
Thompson: Im seeing journalists blogging. Im seeing publications doing podcasts. From our perspective, [blogging] provides an interesting approach because were no longer selling the story idea just to the editor. Its covered in the blog first and then picked up by the blogger reporting in the paper. Its a whole different way of getting into news outlets, and it provides the reporter with two things: One, with another outlet and, two, one less minute of time in the day. Its a lot harder to interact with everyone. The reporters job is a thankless job in many respects, underpaid and absolutely overtaxed at this point, especially as large conglomerates reduce the number of reporters in the marketplace.
Lopez: Theres a lot of stress in newsrooms as we shrink and weve been shrinking for the last few years. Theres a lot of stress because were learning new skills. You cant survive in my shop right now if you cant collect audio with the story or you cant produce Flash presentations. One of the coolest journalists we have in my newsroom right now is a kid named Mark Luckie, who is a graduate student at the University of California Berkeley journalism program. He comes in and puts together the most interesting multimedia segments for our work. So youre seeing that type of skill coming into newsrooms, and then youre seeing old people like me having to learn those types of skills.
I started a blog 18 months ago that I do every morning at ContraCostaTimes.com. I dont know if anybody reads it, but I still do it. We have all kinds of different skills in our newsroom that we didnt have two years ago or three years ago. I recently put in a capital request for video cameras so we can start to produce video segments on our Web site. Youre going to start to see a lot of newspaper Web sites going to video.
Magnani: How do you reconcile just writing as a blogger to whoevers out there every morning versus your traditional role as a journalist?
Lopez: I have to make sure that I have much more of a conversation, an engagement, with the people who are either reading our Web or print product. Im trying to create engagement and transparency of what I think, why I made a certain decision that appeared on the front page, what someone called and said on my voice mail. Frankly, I sometimes get in trouble for what I put in my blog. But its something that Im learning; its all part of trying to be transparent, having a conversation and engaging the readership.
Magnani: The August issue of Vanity Fair had an article by Michael Wolff called Panic on 43rd Street about problems at The New York Times, which are similar to the ones were talking about here. Wolff suggests that the current weakness of newspapers financially might be increasing their vulnerability to political manipulation. He writes, During the Bush years, the entire media have been so much easier to threaten because every company is under such relentless shareholder, financial, advertiser and interest-group pressures media organizations will do anything not to have politicians and prosecutors sniping at them, too.
Im wondering if youve experienced that kind of intimidation or implied intimidation, if its infringing on the traditional role of newspapers to be watchdogs for government and other parts of our society, and how it may be affecting whats going on.
Lopez: The intimidation comes from the readership that has a very specific mind-set. Anytime I say something about the president in my blog, I guarantee that it will generate comments about me being too liberal Im the liberal media. Im bad; slap my hand because we published a story about the president. People have specific mind-sets when it comes to their politics these days.
But I get it both ways too. Ive had democrats very strong democrats come into my office and yell at me for being too soft on the president in the newspaper. All you do is listen to them. Do they have a valid point? Were we off base on a headline? Did we misplace a story? So you hear what they have to say, and then youve got to make a call. We make calls every day about what types of stories we put in the newspaper, where they appear. You cant be intimidated to the point where youre not going to print stories in the newspaper or online.
Neuharth: Im much more worried about Wall Street than the government. Half of the circulation of newspapers in this country is owned by publicly traded companies. Wall Street is like a teenager its all about me, and I want it all now. Its about profits, and that doesnt square very well with the ongoing duty and responsibility of newspapers or journalism to let us know what we need to know.
Newspapers make huge amounts of money. On average, 20 cents on the dollar is their profit. Few industries make that much. Smart owners will say to their investors on Wall Street, Were not going to make that kind of money now. Were not going to make it for at least 10 years. Were going to take those profits, and were going to put them into our future. Were not going to cut back our staffs. Because what newspapers have more than any other media are reporters. What newspapers can offer that nobody else can is depth. Newspapers can cover more and provide you with more information about [a topic]. Thoroughness is one of the last things that newspapers have a lock on. If you get rid of that because youve got to please Wall Street, then youre in trouble.
However, I dont know how many owners will be able to say to Wall Street, If you dont like our profit margins that are now going to be 10 percent, go buy someone elses stock. But thats what they need to do and then beef up their Web sites.
Magnani: Lets say Wall Street was satisfied with an 18 percent profit margin, Al Gore had never invented the Internet and none of these other pressures existed. However, you still have that study by the American Society of Newspaper Editors that shows that the average age of a newspaper reader is 55. What do newspapers need to be doing to recapture that younger readership thats going to sustain newspaper journalism going forward?
Weston: Everywhere I go Im asked that question when I sit with publishers and the editors from the mainstream and ethnic press. Its the same problem readership getting older. Young people read Youth Outlook because they see themselves in it. That is the main hump that the mainstream press has to get over. How do they do it? They should engage more young people. There has to be more investment in the idea of media as youth development. Thats a leap that a lot of mainstream papers wont make because they dont know how to deal with young people.
Lopez: Hes absolutely right. Youth want to see themselves in the newspaper, and its our responsibility to make sure that happens. We do it in a variety of forms. In 2002, we created a series in the newspaper called Reality High. We placed a reporter and a photographer in a high school for a full year and let them tell the daily life of high school students through the kids. Were doing the same thing right now in a middle school. It even gets more basic than that. Prep sports, youth sports kids love to see their pictures in the newspaper.
Magnani: Given everything weve talked about, what do you think print journalism is going to look like 10 years from now?
Thompson: [Journalism is] going to have many different forms of media as people continue to be mobile.Youre going to have the opportunity to get information any way you want.
I hope journalism is alive and well. If it isnt, well be living in a different kind of state. Thats not a state I want to live in. Journalism keeps us free. It allows for democracy. It provides a voice that is clearly necessary for us to live the lives we live today.
Lopez: Partnerships between old and new media. Youll continue to see newspaper companies getting their cost structures in line so that they will thrive. Youll still get that newspaper on your doorstep every morning if thats what you prefer, but you can also get information through multiple ways on Web sites and information delivered to you any way you want it.
Weston: Multimedia, multilingual, intergenerational, super local with an eye toward international.
Neuharth: I dont know. I dont think any of us knows. The place to look is the major metro papers. Theyre the canaries in the coal mine. Those are the ones that have the biggest costs and the most competition, and theyre feeling the squeeze. So whats going to happen to newspapers as a whole is going to happen to them first.
The question is, Is this an analogy to what happened to the railroads? It used to be if you wanted to travel you traveled by railroads, and the railroad titans thought of themselves as railroad companies rather than transportation companies. Thats why we dont fly Union Pacific; we fly United.
Whether newspaper owners will think of themselves as providers of information in whatever form, which theyre beginning to do, is the question.
Meet the panel
Chris Lopez was the editor of Contra Costa Times newspapers until Oct. 20. He joined the Times in 2000 after seven years at the Denver Post, where he was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Columbine High School shootings in 1999. At the Post, he also covered other high-profile crime stories such as the murders of JonBenet Ramsey and Matthew Shepard. Under his leadership, the Contra Costa Times has been named the best California newspaper in its circulation category of 200,000 and below in three out of the last four years.
Dan Neuharth, Ph.D., is an award-winning journalist who has worked both sides of the media, as interviewer and interviewee. He has been a reporter for print, broadcast and online media, covered the media business for USA Today, hosted a radio talk show for KSDO-AM in San Diego, and taught journalism at the university level. He has a masters in journalism from Northwestern University and a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. He is the son of USA Today founder and former Gannett Co. CEO Al Neuharth.
Gary Thompson, APR, is executive vice president and general manager of the West Coast office of Schwartz Communications, a PR firm in San Francisco and Boston with 200 employees and 170 clients, mainly in the health care and technology fields. During his 30-year career with some of the nations top PR firms, he has directed the planning and execution of more than 100 major consumer, corporate, crisis communications and government relations campaigns for client companies.
Kevin Weston is editor in chief of Youth Outlook, an award-winning literary journal of youth life in the San Francisco Bay area featuring in-depth reporting that chronicles the world through the eyes and voices of people between the ages of 14 and 25. He is also director of multimedia communications for New America Media (NAM), the countrys first and largest national collaboration of ethnic news organizations.
Peter Magnani (moderator) is senior vice president and director of West Region communications for Bank of America, where he has served in a variety of PR roles over the last 25 years, supporting the companys businesses and geographic regions, and planning and executing a wide range of financial, corporate, executive and crisis communications programs. A former journalist and occasional stringer and freelance writer for local and national publications, he has taught journalism and public relations in the San Francisco and San Mateo community college districts and at Golden Gate University.
Big dailies take
record circulation hits
The Los Angeles Times leads list, off 8 percent
By Lisa Snedeker
Oct 31, 2006
The newspaper business, once a lush contributor to Tribune Co. profits, is now on its sell list, following the sale of the corporate jet a few weeks back.
One only has to look at the latest newspaper circulation data, released yesterday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, to understand why.
America's newspaper circulation woes are worsening, with many showing record losses over the past six months. And the biggest losses by far are at the nation's largest papers, led by the Tribune-owned Los Angeles Times, which fell a record 8 percent for the period ended Sept. 30, to 775,766.
The nation's dailies averaged a decline of 2.8 percent over the period, up from 2.5 percent reported in May for the prior six-month period. That's alarming enough, coming after years in which papers saw six-month declines in the 1 percent range.
But the big papers took the brunt of the hit. Of the top 20, only two, the New York Post and the New York Daily News, posted criculation gains, with the Post up 5.3 percent, to 704,011, finally overtaking the News, which was up 1 percent, to 693,382.
Besides Los Angeles, other big-paper declines include The New York Times, down 3.5 percent, to 1,086,798, Newsday, off 4.9 percent, to 413,579, the Boston Globe, off 6.7 percent, to 386,415, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, off 7.5 percent, to 330,622.
Some of the slide may be attributed to papers trimming circulation in their outer distribution regions to save on costs. But the bulk of it surely is the continuing migration of readers to the internet and other media choices.
These declines will predictably lead to declines in advertising. With fewer readers, the papers will become that much less attractive to advertisers seeking to reach large audiences, and other media will become that much more attractive.
The sharper 2.8 percent circulation decline is consistent with a number of forecasts of accelerating flight of daily newspaper readers, and it comes at a time when papers across the country are experimenting with every imaginable way to stem that flight, with much of it taking place on papers' internet sites. But whether any of this works is still very unclear, and meanwhile layoffs of employees, especially editorial staffers, continue apace.
The one bright note in the ABC data is the gains at the New York Post and Daily News, the fruit of an otherwise bitter circulation battle going on for years.
The Post's gains push it to fifth place among the nation's largest papers, and ahead of not just the News but the The Washington Post in daily circulation.
Staffers are delighted.
"We've been looking forward to this day for a while," Keith Kelly tells Media Life. Kelly covers media for the Post and once worked at the News.
Kelly attributes the circulation spike to a sustained effort to upgrade the Post's editorial. As of late yesterday afternoon, Kelly reports the champagne had not yet begun to flow in the newsroom, but he quipped, "I'm sure Des O'Brien will be putting a few extra bartenders tonight at Langan's," referring to a favorite Post watering hole.
Among the 21 papers with circulations between 250,000 and 500,000, the average decline was 4.1 percent.
For the entire 770 newspapers tracked by ABC, total circulation fell to 43,741,174 from 44,996,002, or 2.8 percent, as compared to the same six-month period a year earlier.
Sunday circulation numbers were even worse. The average circulation for the 619 newspapers reporting for comparable periods was down 3.4 percent, or 47,564,150 from 49,240,886, over the same period a year ago.
Tribune-owned newspapers were among the biggest losers. The 11 papers include, besides the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Newsday, Baltimore Sun, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel and Hartford Courant.
The Baltimore Sun declined by 4.4 percent, to 236,172 daily, and Sundays fell from 418,670 to 380,701, a 9 percent drop. The Hartford Courant's daily circulation dropped 3.9, to 179,066, while Sunday was off by 1.5 percent, to 264,539. The Chicago Tribune showed only slight declines with daily numbers dropping 1.7 percent, to 576,132, and Sunday falling 1.3 percent to 937,907.
Other heavy losses were reported at the Miami Herald, where daily circulation dropped 8.8 percent and Sunday fell 9.1 percent.
"The larger newspapers did post large declines. This was particularly true on Sunday, but while one may at first conclude this is a difference in consumer preferences, for example, readers choosing the web over print, I believe the numbers we are seeing are based on new marketing strategies," said John Murray, vice president of circulation for the Newspaper Association of America.
He says larger papers are now hunkering down and focusing on their highest readership areas that are most relevant to advertisers rather than continuing to spread their coverage far and wide and thin.
He predicts that the strategy will translate into more stable circulation numbers by the next reporting period.
"I would say this is a realignment in what's important, and what is important is holding onto sales and even growing those that have the highest readership value and provide the greatest value to advertisers."
Magnani: Given everything weve talked about, what do you think print journalism is going to look like 10 years from now?
Thompson: [Journalism is] going to have many different forms of media as people continue to be mobile.Youre going to have the opportunity to get information any way you want. I hope journalism is alive and well. If it isnt, well be living in a different kind of state. Thats not a state I want to live in. Journalism keeps us free. It allows for democracy. It provides a voice that is clearly necessary for us to live the lives we live today.
It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier,
Who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.
Admiral Jeremiah Denton
There, fixed. The Repulsive hasn't been anything like its old Pulliam self since it was sold to Gannett and put Keven Willey (Nappy's best gal-pal) in charge.