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Thread: Newspapers - Pick one up before they go away

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    Smells Like Teen Spirit jmcclain19's Avatar
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    Newspapers - Pick one up before they go away

    http://www.editorandpublisher.com/ea..._id=1003723373

    Newspapers have been known for quite some time to be a dying industry, but the fall in the last four years across the nation has been substantial.

    Just another medium of communication that will soon go the way of the Dodo.

    Exclusive: Charting 4-Year Circ Plunge at Major Papers


    By Jennifer Saba

    Published: March 11, 2008 4:30 PM ET

    NEW YORK In just four years the top newspapers in the U.S. have collectively lost about 1.4 million copies in daily circulation, E&P has found. But since the reported numbers come out every six months, the overall decline for individual papers may not hit home for many. Each fall off is usually in the low- to mid-single digits -- but it sure adds up.

    While the industry has lost about 10% of circulation overall in the past four years among the leading papers, some have bled much more than others during the same period, according to an E&P analysis of data from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

    The Los Angles Times lost 20% of daily circulation or more than 200,000 copies over the past four years, for example, while up the coast the San Francisco Chronicle's daily circulation dropped almost 30%.

    The Boston Globe plunged about 20% and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution almost 17%. The Washington Post took an 8.8% hit. The New York Times is down a more palatable 7.2%.

    Most of the top 20 newspapers, as ranked by the six-month period ending September 2007, experienced losses in the high single digits or more looking at the previous four years.

    There are some gainers though: USA Today increased its circulation 2% and the New York Post grew 2.3% (but lost circ in its most recent report).

    The list compares data from ABC FAS-FAX reports from the six-month period ending September 2003 and the same period for September 2007.

    In that September 2003 report, overall daily circulation for the papers reporting to ABC fell about 0.4%, more or less the average decline (then). It wasn't until the summer of 2004 when Newsday, The Dallas Morning News, the Chicago Sun-Times and others admitted to misstating circulation by thousands of copies, that overall circulation started dropping at least 2%.

    The scandals caused advertisers and industry watchers to put circulation under a microscope. Publishers began cutting out what is considered "lesser quality" circulation. That type of circulation falls under the category "other paid."

    Many newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Boston Globe began cutting other paid circulation -- employee, hotel, newspapers in educations and especially third party sponsored copies -- hence some of the steep decreases.

    The do-not-call list, which went into effect in October 2003, is another reason circulation dropped during the period.

    **

    PAPER -- Daily (M-F) Sept. '07 - Copies, Gained/Lost Since Sept. 03-- % Change

    USA Today -- 2,293,137 -- 46,141 -- 2.1%
    The Wall Street Journal -- 2,011,882 -- (-79,180) -- (-3.8%)
    The New York Times -- 1,037,828 -- (-80,737) -- (-7.2%)
    Los Angeles Times* -- 794,705 -- (-201,133) -- (-20.2%)
    New York Daily News -- 681,415 -- (-47,709) -- (-6.5%)

    New York Post -- 667,119 -- 14,693 -- 2.3%
    The Washington Post -- 635,087 -- (-97,785) -- (-13.3%)
    Chicago Tribune -- 559,404 -- (-54,105) -- (-8.8%)
    Houston Chronicle* -- 502,631 -- (-50,387) -- (-9.1%)
    Newsday -- 387,503 -- NA

    The Arizona Republic*, Phoenix -- 385,214 -- (-47,070) -- (-10.9%)
    The Dallas Morning News -- 373,586 -- NA
    San Francisco Chronicle -- 365,234 -- (-147,406) -- (-28.8%)
    The Boston Globe -- 360,695 -- (-89,843) -- (-19.9%)
    The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J. -- 353,003 -- (-55,669) -- (-13.6%)

    The Philadelphia Inquirer -- 338,049 -- (-38,444) -- (-10.2%)
    Star Tribune*, Minneapolis -- 341,645 -- (-38,709) -- (-10.2%)
    The Plain Dealer*, Cleveland -- 332,894 -- (-32,394) -- (-8.9%)
    Detroit Free Press -- 320,125 -- (-32,589) -- (-9.2%)
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution -- 318,350 -- (-64,071) -- (-16.8%)

    * Daily average is Monday-Saturday.

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    Please come again pedro's Avatar
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    Re: Newspapers - Pick one up before they go away

    I'm a big fan of newspapers. The Oregonian, my hometown paper, is exceedingly crappy, it provides maybe 15 minutes of reading at absolute most.

    I've gotten the Sunday NY Times for years and while even it tires me these days it's still the best thing going IMO.
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    The Future GoReds33's Avatar
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    Re: Newspapers - Pick one up before they go away

    Reading just isn't what people like to do anymore. Newspapers need more colored images, and more enticing stories. I like reading stuff on the internet because I know that if it's on the internet, it's probably going to be entertaining.
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    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: Newspapers - Pick one up before they go away

    Quote Originally Posted by GoReds33 View Post
    Reading just isn't what people like to do anymore. Newspapers need more colored images, and more enticing stories. I like reading stuff on the internet because I know that if it's on the internet, it's probably going to be entertaining.
    That's an unbelievably sad comment on our society.

    As for the death of newspapers -- they died the minute they started offering free content on the internet. Why would I ever take a subscription to the Enquirer or the Washington Post when I can read both papers for free online during my lunch hour (which I do).
    Last edited by Caveat Emperor; 03-12-2008 at 07:53 AM.
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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Newspapers - Pick one up before they go away

    I have been under the impression that papers just broke even on hard copies, and that the profit came from the ads. Is that true? If so, my next question would be, are Web ads as effective as print ads?

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    Member durl's Avatar
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    Re: Newspapers - Pick one up before they go away

    Could it be they're falling prey to our seemingly less involved citizenry? People want things fast, just the details, no in-depth knowledge of a matter.

    Probably. But I believe their biggest problem is content. They have the same stories, almost always from the same angle. Most of the papers listed with the biggest declines are ones that lean most heavily to their particular side of the political spectrum.

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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Newspapers - Pick one up before they go away

    I can't get my kids interested in reading much more than the comic section of a newspaper. They'd rather read news online or have Charlie Gibson read them the national news. (Judging from the endless ads for prescription medicine on the national news, I assume that kids don't form a sizable chunk of Charlie's audience.)

    I started reading the newspaper when I was in elementary school and have been a 7-day subscriber everywhere I've lived. The newspaper told me the real story on Santa Claus before my parents did.
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    First Time Caller SunDeck's Avatar
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    Re: Newspapers - Pick one up before they go away

    Quote Originally Posted by GoReds33 View Post
    Reading just isn't what people like to do anymore. Newspapers need more colored images, and more enticing stories. I like reading stuff on the internet because I know that if it's on the internet, it's probably going to be entertaining.
    So, what is the difference between reading it off the internet or in a newspaper?

    Anyway, journalism isn't dying, it's just changing from one media to another. It's becoming less centralized, too, which seems both pretty cool, and maybe a little unfortunate. After all, there is something to be said for a large, powerful news organization- it creates clout and access for its reporters.

    What I mourn is the ascendancy of corporate driven news organizations over truly independent news organizations.
    A perfect example is the way local television news programs are forced to spend a portion of their air time doing stories about network programming. Funny, I never see a story about American Idol on my NBC affiliate, yet it seems to be news on my Fox channel.
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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Newspapers - Pick one up before they go away

    Quote Originally Posted by SunDeck View Post
    A perfect example is the way local television news programs are forced to spend a portion of their air time doing stories about network programming. Funny, I never see a story about American Idol on my NBC affiliate, yet it seems to be news on my Fox channel.

    Unfortunately, when people are eliminated from Survivor or American Idol it's news to a lot of newspapers. As in news in the front section of the paper, not in the Life section or TV section or Entertainment section. If newspapers keep treating entertainment like news, they deserve what they get.

    I will read pretty much the whole newspaper if I see a copy but I usually only read Reds stuff when I go online to read the Enquirer.
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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Newspapers - Pick one up before they go away

    Well I get the feeling I'll be reading them until I die.

    I'm of the print generation, I love the feel of the paper in my hand, I love to drag one to the bar and fold the pages into readable planes, dissecting the box scores, standings, charts. You can write on them put em in your pocket, take it with you anywhere in the house, into the sun in the back yard in the morning, into the coffee shop when you duck in out of the rain.

    No Sunday Times... sad day that would be, I've already seen the death of the old time newspaper centric columnist, Caen, Deplane, Murray, Kael etc....

    You'll have to pry it out of my fingers, that or the quarters in my pocket earmarked for the nearest paper box on the sidewalk.

  12. #11
    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Re: Newspapers - Pick one up before they go away

    Being nearly 40 I grew up reading papers. I began reading the paper daily in elementary school and often read 2-3 a day by the time I was in high school. About 3-4 years ago I canceled all my subscriptions and I don't miss them at all.

    GL

  13. #12
    Haunted by walks
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    Re: Newspapers - Pick one up before they go away

    I feel like some guy in a forum claiming to have inside knowledge of front office moves.

    The short answer is that all newspapers are afternoon papers now ... but that's not necessarily fatal. There are several specific reasons why papers like the Cincinnati Post have to close, while afternoon papers in small towns and rural areas keep going.

    Newspapers will last longer than the conventional wisdom assumes, for the sake of people like WOY, but it will be on a different scale. People no longer sit around the radio in the living room listening to the prize fight, but there's still radio. Some people have been known to pay a subscription for a satellite radio signal. I wonder what Crosley would have thought of that.

    The biggest challenge is for papers the size of the Enquirer: Too big to do something that's uniquely local, and not big enough to be the one place to go for everything else.

    It would be cool to be the Castellini of a newspaper, though. Own it because you love it, and run it the way you want.

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Newspapers - Pick one up before they go away

    Most newspapers just pick up their national stories from the AP, so it makes no sense to read them for national news when you can access that news from better, independent sources online.

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    Member 15fan's Avatar
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    Re: Newspapers - Pick one up before they go away

    A few thoughts on the analysis:

    1) They are using Mon-Sat circulation. While we personally take the paper 7 days / week, I know a lot of folks who have scaled back to just take the Sunday paper. They (a) have more time to read on Sunday, and (b) save money by skimming news sources online during the week instead of reading the paper. Thus, I'd be curious to see what's happened to Sunday circulations over the same time.

    2) Hard copy circulation is down. What about eyeballs on the internet editions? My guess is that there has been an explosion on that side of the ledger. The trick, then, would seem to be how to capture more $ from the web editions. Not just by banner ads, but also by things like subscription access, etc.

    3) While it's probably not a big part of the equation, places like libraries are increasingly moving to online subscriptions instead of hard copy editions. Don't have to worry about theft. Takes less space. Archiving isn't an issue. Etc.

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    GR8NESS WMR's Avatar
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    Re: Newspapers - Pick one up before they go away

    The Lexington Herald-Liberal could go out of business tomorrow as far as I'm concerned.
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