Editor & Publisher: Newspaper Circulation Down Again

In Editor & Publisher’s piece this morning on the latest large metro daily newspaper circulation numbers from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, you’ll notice lots of words like, “plunged,” “fell” and “lost.”

First, the lead:

Print circulation continues on its steep downward slide, the Audit Bureau of Circulations revealed this morning in releasing the latest numbers for some of the country’s largest dailies in the six-month period ending March 31, 2008. When a full analysis appears it is expected to find, according to sources, the biggest dip yet, about 3.5% daily and 4.5 for Sunday.

Once again, declines in daily newspaper circulations is the norm. Almost all the major newspaper you can think of — the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Dallas Morning News — saw lower numbers for weekday and Sunday circulation.

But there were some gainers:

Meanwhile, daily circulation at The Wall Street Journal grew a fraction of a percent, up 0.3% to 2,069,463 copies. USA Today experienced a greater increase. Circulation was up at the national daily 0.27%* to 2,284,219.


Daily circulation at The St. Louis Post-Dispatch plunged 8.5% Monday-Friday to 255,057. However, the paper managed to grow its Sunday circulation by 1.6% to 414,564.

and finally

Good news in Baltimore: The Sun made a slight gain in daily circulation, up 0.1% (about 200 copies) to 232,360. Sunday circulation was down slightly 1.2% to 372,970.

Somehow, we doubt a 0.1 percent Sun rise is comforting David Simon. But we digress.

Other notable newspapers and their numbers, as well as notes on the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, after the jump.

Other notables and their numbers:

  • The Dallas Morning News: daily circulation fell 10.5% to 368,313 while Sunday slipped 7.6% to 520,215.
  • At the New York Times, where layoffs loom, the paper lost more than 150,000 copies on Sunday. Circulation on that day fell 9.2% to 1,476,400. The paper’s daily circulation declined 3.8% to 1,077,256.
  • The Washington Post said daily circulation decreased 3.5% to 673,180 and Sunday dropped 4.3% to 890,163.
  • The Los Angeles Times lost more than 40,000 daily copies. Daily circulation was down 5.1% to 773,884. Sunday declined 6.0% to 1,101,981.
  • Daily circulation at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution declined 8.5% to 326,907 while Sunday fell 5.0% to 497,149.

At the Chicago Tribune, an interesting note:

Daily and Sunday circulation at the Chicago Tribune both dropped 4.4% to 541,663 and 898,703, respectively. In a statement released this morning, the paper noted that it increased its readership with its other products like the free Redeye and its Web site.

“We are proud of the fact that in today’s intensely competitive media environment, we have grown both our print and online audiences,” Scott Smith, publisher of the Chicago Tribune, said in a statement.

Redeye, of course, is the Tribune’s effort to reach “young, urban professionals who are short on time and long on disposable income.” Sound familiar? The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is doing something similar in Little Rock with Sync, a free weekly aimed at a similar demo.

And speaking of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, what about its circ numbers? The paper’s figures for the latest six-month period aren’t yet available online. But for the previous six-month period, they looked like this, according to the Democrat-Gazette in April:

For the six months ending Sept. 30, Monday through Friday circulation at the Democrat-Gazette grew 1. 2 percent from the year-earlier period, to 178, 186 from 176, 154. Sunday was up 0. 4 percent, to 271, 815 from 270, 645.

During the same period, circulation for more than 500 daily newspapers reporting to the Audit Bureau of Circulations fell 2. 6 percent, and Sunday fell 3. 5 percent, the Newspaper Association of America said.

(You can track the numbers yourself by going to the Audit Bureau of Circulations here and searching for newspapers by state.)

Famously, the DG is one of the few papers in the country that has consistently shown circulation increases. It also boasts the best penetration rate in the nation.

All that, of course, are among reasons Editor & Publisher named Democrat-Gazette Publisher Walter Hussman its Publisher of the Year this year. Anyone making numbers go up when most of them are going down is going to receive recognition.

Also: More on the Wall Street Journal’s circ here.


One Response

  1. […] Democrat-Gazette Circulation Falls Posted on April 29, 2008 by lanceturner We pondered the latest daily newspaper circulation figures yesterday without yet knowing what the numbers for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette were. Now we […]

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