April 28, 2008

Where have all the newspaper readers gone?

The Dead Tree Edition world is reeling this morning, as newspaper circulation figures for the past six months are released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the industry's accountant.

Big readership drops have been reported almost everywhere with two exceptions: fractional gains at the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, which already had the largest circulation in the U.S. Together, they gained 13,000 additional daily readers, to add to their existing 4.33 million -- a gain of .3%. Every one of the next 25 largest papers in the U.S. lost daily circulation, in chunks from 2% to 10.5%.

The news was worse on Sunday: 24 of the 25 largest papers lost circulation; the best-selling U.S. Sunday paper, the incomparable New York Times is down 9.26% (150,000 papers every week!); the Denver Post is down 4.7%; the Chicago Tribune is off 4.46%.

Remember, all these losses above took place over just six months -- since the papers last reported their circulation figures on Sept. 30, 2007.

So much for the big picture; what about here? How's the Journal Times doing? The story is mixed, although you probably won't read it in their pages. The following numbers compare March 2008 figures to March 2007.

The Journal Times' Sunday circulation grew in the past year, from 30,807 to 30,860, a gain of 53 new subscribers. But daily circulation dropped from 28,586 to 28,103, a loss of 483.

Five years ago, the Journal Times had 29,058 Sunday subscribers, and 31,399 daily.

The Kenosha News' Sunday circulation fell from 27,403 to 26,502, a loss of 901; daily dropped from 25,248 to 24,535, a loss of 713. Five years ago: Sunday, 26,613; daily, 29,065.

The bad numbers are bigger in Milwaukee. The Journal Sentinel's Sunday circulation dropped from 400,317 to 384,539, a loss of 15,778; daily dropped from 230,218 to 217,755, a loss of 12,463. Five years ago: Sunday, 434,668; daily, 257,599.

In Madison, the Wisconsin State Journal went from 143,512 to 138,276 on Sunday, a loss of 5,236; its combined daily circulation with the Capital Times went from 106,174 to 104,265, a loss of 1,909. The bittersweet news from Madison this weekend, as the 90-year-old CapTimes published its final edition, is that the WSJ reports retaining all of the CapTimes' 14,000 afternoon subscribers to its morning edition. Five years ago: Sunday, 154,588; daily, 113,189. The New York Times' CapTimes obiturary is HERE. Individual "obits" on all the CapTimes journalists who lost their jobs in the closure are HERE. The CapTimes' farewell editorial is HERE.

Editor and Publisher's list of the top 25 daily papers' numbers is HERE; the Sunday list is HERE.


  1. The answer this question is quite obvious – especially if you are looking at this now. Local web blogs and newsletter such as the Racine Post are publishing news once the total domain of the print media. The print media lost readership with totally one sided opinions, very little research into the news and reluctance to embrace internet publishing. The death of the Capital Times this past weekend and rapid declines with the NY Times and others are examples.

    I would have thought that these publishers would have noted past history, equating technology’s impact on the newsprint industry such as that impacted the buggy whip and stage coach manufacturers not that many years ago..

  2. What are the Racine Post's daily numbers like?

  3. WEB 2.0 is killing the dead tree media. it is very easy and in most cases free to set up a blog even an Internet Raido show can be yours for free.
    I had about 100 downloading my Downtown Racine show when I was doing them (Needed some time but I will be back)
    and those folks wanted the content or they would have not taken the time to download them. So I can safly that each day I can tell 100 if not more what is going on in the City of Racine that they will not read in the J-T or hear on WRJN

    The On line part of the J-T is the only thing keeping them going.

  4. The JT editors are censorship Nazis'. If you speak bad of someone they like, they delete your comments. I have also cancelled my subscription to that rag. Oh, and that Sloth guy is an A-Hole!!!

  5. For sure the J-T is in bed with RUSD (as is the Post but the Post will allow anti RUSD postings) and will go out of there way to promote an agenda
    from RUSD. The J-T is in bed with the DRC/ J Wax.
    The Post is far more left wing then I like but unlike the J-T it's free
    The Post has been helpful to me.
    Also I think that as time goes on the political slant will change.

  6. Kenneth Lumpkin4/28/2008 10:32 PM

    Great job keeping people informed. Keep up the good work Dustin and Pete. Racine need the so-called other side. The truth.
    Greg I am put my real name so you want go snooping in my account where you work.

  7. Lumpy....learn to spell you moron.....thank God you lost....I belly laughed when I heard you lost both spots...the one you had and didn't deserve, and the other one you didn't deserve!

  8. I see I was able to drag you out of the gutter. If I spell it wrong, you know what I am saying. Oh by the way. Being an elected offical is not the most important thing in my life. But your hate for other make me wonder Greg. Do not go aninymous on me now. Keep your comments out in the open so people will learn what kinda elected offical you are.

  9. Pete ... they've gone online (and you're one of them)

  10. I see Mr Lumpkin has not learned a thing.

    Not surprising.

  11. What is it I suppose to have leared and from whom.
    Greg you can't teach me anything.
    Your best bet is to hope that the mayor step down and you can try and be like him.

  12. Becker leaves by June/July.
    Interesting race My guess is that QA wins should he run.
    Some of the names out there scare me
    We strong Racine not someone who will gut the City and keep the Police force down for Grant Writers and an Uptown art Project.
    $5K (+ 1K to the artist pet project + expenses ) for an outside artist to make a mural when I would think that the City of Racine could find someone local

  13. Think what you want, Ken, but the anonynmous posts on this thread are not from me. Posts like that are the reason I think blogs (especially the JT blogs) detract from, rather than contribute to, the level of discourse in our community.

    Being an elected official is not the most important thing in my life, either, but I do take my public service very seriously. I do not have hate for others. I keep my comments out in the open. I do my homework on issues, really try to understand where people are coming from, and I try to engage in actual discourse during policy debates. I'm not perfect and I don't please everyone all the time. I just take the role seriously and always try my best to do what I feel is best for our community. That is the kind of elected offical I am.

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  15. There are few necessary things and more unnecessary things in the news papers. Print media should be fair and examine the full story before they publish them. They should think quality and importance of the news too. Otherwise internet radio and some web site provide some hot news before news papers provide them. So, who will buy news papers?
    There are a lot of sites out there showing book video. BookVideoTV, BookTelevision and of course CSPAN, but I like how BN.com and Reader's Entertainment TV have specific genre channels and original shows. There's just more to see and I can be specific in what genre I'm interested in.

    href=" //www.readersentertainment.tv"> //www.readersentertainment.tv

  16. Print will eventually phase out as it gives way to new tools that are more interactive and rich. Online Portals, Blogs, Social Networks, RSS, Mobiles, Podcasts are booming now and readers have addicted to such interactive and rich media.

    Here’s few useful links on digital publishing / delivery