Newspaper circulation continues to decline -- across the country in almost every big city, and here in Southeastern Wisconsin as well.
The Audit Bureau of Circulations released figures today for the six months ending on March 31, 2009. Editor and Publisher, a newspaper trade magazine, summed it up this way: "The largest metros continue to shed daily and Sunday circulation -- now at a record rate."
The daily circulation of at least two big-city papers -- the New York Post and the Atlanta-Journal Constitution -- was down 20%. Double-digit drops, like the Boston Globe's 13.6%, were not uncommon: The Miami Herald fell 15.8%; the San Francisco Chronicle, 15.7%.
On average, the 395 newspapers reporting lost 7% of their daily circulation; in a nation of over 300 million people, only 34 million newspapers are bought daily (some are shared, of course). The loss was a little less for 557 Sunday newspapers reporting: circulation was down 5.3% to 42 million.
The newspaper news from around here fell into the same pattern.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel dropped 6.7% daily, and 6% on Sunday. Average weekday circulation was 203,240 for the six months ending March 31, compared with 217,755 a year earlier. Sunday was down to 361,355, compared to 384,537 in 2008.
The Journal Times had average Sunday circulation of 29,430 for the six months ending March 31, compared with 30,859 a year earlier, a decline of 4.6%. Weekday figures were not comparable due to an Audit Bureau rule change, but here are the figures we do have: Monday-Saturday circulation is now 27,627; a year ago, the JT's Monday-Friday number was 28,100, and its Saturday number was 26,664; in September 2008 the JT reported weekday sales of 28,287. (The JT got smaller in a different way earlier this month as well, cutting its physical page size by almost 10%.)
The Kenosha News reported Sunday circulation of 26,222, compared with 26,502 a year earlier, a 1% decline. Its weekday numbers also aren't exactly comparable but here's what's reported: 23,939 Monday - Saturday; a year ago, its Monday - Friday circulation was 24,535, and its Saturday number was 23,246; and in September 2008 its weekday circulation was 24,552.