October 27, 2009

Top 25 Newspapers’ Year-Over-Year Circ Drop Is ‘Largest in Decade’

newspaper_X_225Note: I have preserved the underlying details at this post for future reference.

It’s a variation on the old riddle, “What’s black and white, but read all over?”

If you change one word and add two others, the answer to the resulting question — “What’s still mostly black and white, but red all over?” — would be, based on just-released information about their daily circulation, “every one of the nation’s top 25 newspapers turning in comparative numbers.”

The figures come from the newspaper industry’s Audit Board of Circulations (ABC), and cover the April-September 2009 time period.

Here are a few paragraphs from Michael Liedtke’s coverage of the carnage at the Associated Press, which depends largely on newspaper subscription fees for its lifeblood. Note the “so far” reference in Liedtke’s third paragraph:

Circulation at newspapers shrank at an accelerated pace in the past six months, driven in part by stiff price increases imposed by publishers scrambling to offset rapidly eroding advertising sales.

Average daily circulation at 379 U.S. newspapers plunged 10.6 percent in the April-September period from the same six-month stretch last year, according to figures released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

It’s the largest drop recorded so far during the past decade’s steady decline in paid readership – a span that has coincided with an explosion of online news sources that don’t charge readers for access. Many newspapers also have been reducing delivery to far-flung locales and increasing prices to get more money out of their remaining sales.

The latest decline outstripped a 7.1 percent decrease in the October 2008-March 2009 period and a 4.6 percent decline in last year’s April-September window.

I will be taking a more detailed look over a longer term at the situation later, but a few things stick out noticeably in the Top 25 Daily and Sunday lists found at Editor & Publisher:

  • Only one daily paper, the Wall Street Journal, with a +0.61% increase compared to April-September 2008, showed a year-over-year increase. Every other daily listed that has a change recorded (three don’t), shows a decline of 5% or more. 15 of the 22 reporting a change had a decline of over 10%.
  • On the Sunday side, the results were only slightly better, and still horrid. Only the Arizona Republic, at -0.87%, got close to holding last year’s circulation. The New York Times’s 2.66% drop was the runner-up. Seven of the 24 papers reporting changes sank by more than 10%.
  • Speaking of the Times, its daily circ plunged 7.28% to 928,000 copies. After holding its own during the preceding six months largely as a result of transforming itself into a shameless soapbox for candidate/President Barack Obama, ABC’s most recent results brought the Times below the million mark for the first time in a very long time with a convincing thud.
  • USA Today’s 17% drop, and its accompanying fall from the first-place perch now occupied by the Wall Street Journal, was relayed to parent company Gannett’s employees and the general public earlier this month. According to Gannett, this is largely due to travel industry cutbacks in free papers provided to hotel guests. However, the Journal has pointed out that it has made inroads into some of the very hotels that represent USA Today’s bread-and-butter revenue source.

Papers which one thought might have bottomed out after steep declines in several previous reporting periods were still among the worst performers this time around. Examples (from the Daily list):

  • The Los Angeles Times, which was over 1 million subscribers not that many years ago, fell 11.05% to 657,000. LA blogger Patterico can give you dozens and dozens of reasons why.
  • The Boston Globe, the supposedly premier paper in all of New England, fell 18.48% to 264,000. That’s less than four filled-up Gillette Stadiums.
  • The San Francisco Chronicle dived by 25.82% to 252,000.

What may be the biggest shock is a paper that is no longer on the list.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution did not make the top 25. A year ago, it was at 275,000. Since the currently reported circulation at the Number 25 St. Petersburg Times is 240,000, that means that the AJC, after a string of previous double-digit drops, decline by at least another 12.7% (35,000 divided by 275,000). Atlanta is the country’s ninth-largest metro area.

That the four grievously biased papers identified in the three previous paragraphs are among the serially worst performers especially supports the notion that while the Internet and technology in general have clearly been factors in the print industry’s decline, bias in its various forms — leftist slants, annoying PC language, and the suppression of stories that don’t fit the conventional “wisdom” template — have also contributed to the accelerating decay in many instances. Simply put, they don’t get it, and they’re paying dearly for it.

Image was found at Memebox.com.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


BizzyBlog Update, April 27, 2010: Advertising Age’s coverage of the circ news makes an important point about the WSJ’s performance –

And for anyone following the fortunes of newsprint, even that picture renders conditions a bit on the rosy side. As permitted by Audit Bureau of Circulations rules, The Journal’s paid circulation report includes subscriptions to its paid website. Excluding 407,002 such electronic subscriptions, up 14.4% from a year earlier, the core print paper actually saw paid circulation decline 2.4%.

Info Collection: Top 25 Daily and Sunday Papers for April 1 – September 30, 2009

Preserved here below the fold for when Editor & Publisher links go behind their subscription wall, and in case Burrelle’s ultimately doesn’t publish its analogous Top 100 list:

From the UK: A Confirmation of What Has Intuitively Been Known

Filed under: Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:32 am

From the UK Telegraph (HT Belmont Club via Instapundit):

The huge increases in migrants over the last decade were partly due to a politically motivated attempt by ministers to radically change the country and “rub the Right’s nose in diversity”, according to Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett.

He said Labour’s relaxation of controls was a deliberate plan to “open up the UK to mass migration” but that ministers were nervous and reluctant to discuss such a move publicly for fear it would alienate its “core working class vote”.

Note that none of this has been motivated by anything relating to making the UK a better place to live, work, chase your dreams, and/or raise a family. It has had everything to do with retaining and perpetuating power.

Leaders like Tony Blair may (emphasis may) have been so out of touch that they believed this effort wouldn’t fundamentally change the nature of their country. Many of those under him knew better, and either didn’t care or actually wanted that change.

Let’s call this what it is: Deliberately allowing large numbers of people into your country who won’t share and are even hostile to your country’s values, legal structure, and traditions — enough that their presence swings elections and ultimately alters those things for the worse — is nothing less than incremental treason.

Though there’s no smoking gun (yet), imperfect but largely valid analogies to the situation in the U.S. are pretty obvious to those with open eyes.

Lucid Links (102709, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:05 am

The drop in Ohio’s seasonally adjusted (SA) unemployment rate from 10.8% in August to 10.1% in September occurred mostly because the number of people working in the Buckeye State dropped by 30,000, or about 0.5%, during the month.

Not seasonally adjusted (NSA), the workforce shrank by 97,500. The SA number previously noted is the better comparison, but the point in this article at the Lancaster Gazette remains valid:

The unemployment rate doesn’t factor in discouraged workers who have dropped out of the labor force — for a job-market related reason or otherwise — as well as the underemployed who are working part-time jobs because they couldn’t find a full-time position.

I’ve resisted getting into the “discouraged worker” argument because over the decades I have seen commentators and politicians from both sides of the aisle play this issue up while the numbers involved really haven’t fluctuated all that much.

But in the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid Economy, which began in June 2008, and which is now the POR Recession/”Repression” as Normal People Define It, something is clearly and dismally different.

My eyeball review of changes in the workforce in various states shows that Ohio isn’t alone in seeing people drop out, and is by far not the worst example.

Let’s look at NSA changes in the workforce from September 2008 – September 2009 (NSA is a better metric in this case because I’m comparing the same month in different years). Here are some year-over-year examples of net workforce drops:

Alabama — Down 71,200 (-3.3%)
Colorado — Down 62,400 (-2.3%)
Delaware (Home of Joe “Three-Letter Word: J-O-B-S, Jobs” Biden) — Down 11,900 (-2.7%)
Georgia — Down 112,100 (-2.3%)
Indiana — Down 87,800 (-2.7%)
Louisiana — Down 47,400 (-2.3%)
Mississippi — Down 39,200 (-3.0%)

Ohio’s shrinkage in the past 12 months has “only” been 92,500 (-1.5%). Yes, 18 states (AK, CT, IA, KS, KY, MA, MN, MO, NV, NJ, NY, OK, RI, SC, SD, TX, VA, WA) have seen their workforces increase, but most of those increases have been less than 1%.

If your state’s population is steady or slightly increasing, you don’t lose one out of every 30-40 available workers unless something is going terribly wrong. Something IS going terribly wrong. It’s called the POR Economy. Despite their job-touting rhetoric, the uncertainty-raising policies, proposals, and mindset of this administration and Congress are discouraging employers from hiring, and are now clearly discouraging workers from looking.


UK climate chief Lord NIcholas Stern is the author of the 2006 Stern Review on the cost of tackling “global warming,” more properly known around here as “globaloney.”

In a UK Times Online interview, Stern sternly stated that everyone must abandon eating meat to save the world from globaloney because of all of the methane cows and pigs generate.

Here’s a response from Times Online commenter Michelle Cousins (October 27, 2009, 11:29 AM GMT at story; paragraph break added by me):

Oh please, please end this constant flood of “save the planet/global warming/climate change”! I am so sick of hearing about it.

My family and I do as much as we can to help the environment, but will not be dictated to regarding what to eat, when to sleep, how to travel etc. Leave us and the animals alone – get rid of the methane-emitters at Westminster/House of Lords and we’ll be better off already! We are omnivores, not herbivores, and if I ate beans, Brussel Sprouts, lentils etc every day I am sure a) I would emit far more methane than ever, and b) I would be divorced!


Gallup: “Conservatives Maintain Edge as Top Ideological Group”

Conservatives continue to outnumber moderates and liberals in the American populace in 2009, confirming a finding that Gallup first noted in June. Forty percent of Americans describe their political views as conservative, 36% as moderate, and 20% as liberal.

That’s nice. Wouldn’t it be great if there we had a political party where genuine, sensible conservatives were actually welcome?

Positivity: ‘Race toward WYD (World Youth Day) 2011 Madrid has begun’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:49 am

From Madrid, Spain:

Oct 26, 2009 / 04:16 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela of Madrid greeted a large group of young Catholics gathered at the headquarters of the World Youth Day 2011 organizing committee last Friday.

Cardinal Rouco Varela addressed the youth saying, “Today begins the race towards WYD, an extraordinary event in which we will be able to experience the universality of the Church, in union with the Pope…with more than a thousand bishops from all over the world, thousands of priests, consecrated men and women, parents, boys and girls, and especially many young people from all over the world.”

Cardinal Rivera reminded the youth of the two great objectives of WYD:

The first, he explained, is to promote “a great encounter of young people with the Lord, that with their faith they might make visible the theme of WYD, ‘Rooted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith’.”

The second objective is “to show the world the testimony of young people in the Church who demonstrate that they know Christ and that following Him is the best path to give life meaning and to be truly happy.” ….

Go here for the rest of the story.