We had a hard time finding the good news in Monday’s report that U.S. newspaper circulation has fallen more than 10 percent, based on an analysis of 379 daily papers. Thank goodness for the newspapers whose publishers helped them understand why losing hundreds or thousands of paying readers is good.
Monday’s newspaper circulation numbers please no one who makes their living from selling papers. That’s evident when you look at the top 25 dailies by circulation and see that the best performance came from The Wall Street Journal, which rose less than 1 percent. Considering that advertisers use these numbers to determine where to spend their money, there is little reason to rejoice.
It’s a good thing when the journalists write press releases. Today’s launch of the Chicago News Cooperative is something that we can share with you pretty much by cutting and pasting the press release. Unlike the jargon-filled missives from many companies, this is easy to read.
Newspapers often resemble a melting iceberg full of milling penguins when they talk about whether and how to make people pay for their news online. Newsday, the former Tribune-owned daily paper that serves New York’s Long Island, has left the iceberg. Here is the paper, in its own words:
The Wall Street Journal, ever on the hunt for new ways to please its readers and new ways to make money (and what, we ask, is wrong with that?), will launch a new, pricier version this November. Called “The Wall Street Journal Professional Edition,” it is designed for business readers who want more than what the daily newspaper and website provide on their own.
We feel like we’ve read this bad news before. Our sources tell us that they are expecting another round of layoffs in the Los Angeles Times newsroom. They said that people thought a few dozen editorial staffers could get their walking papers this week, though someone else close to the paper whom we spoke cautioned that amount was too extreme.
The New York Times will cut 100 positions in its newsroom by the end of the year, Executive Editor Bill Keller told staff on Monday. This is the second time that the paper has taken this unfortunate step, having cut 100 positions last year (though, as Richard Perez-Pena reported in his story on nytimes.com, other positions were added so it was not a net reduction). Thing is, the TImes already cut pay for journalists and other employees this year in an attempt to forestall cuts. So… it’s not good news, but it is fit to print. Here is Keller’s memo:
Thanksgiving thank-you lists can get pretty lengthy. This year, add a newspaper to the things you’re thankful for. That, more or less, is the message that the Newspaper Association of America is delivering in an advertisement that it hopes daily papers will run this coming Monday. The ad will appear a week before the Audit Bureau of Circulations publishes its latest circulation statistics for North American newspapers.
It’s not every day that you get people who are anxious to tell you that they’re investing in newspapers, that great industry sector that took a swan dive into an empty swimming pool over the past couple years. Private equity firms that are getting into that game again are just that — PRIVATE.
Earlier this week I brought you the brewing circulation tussle between USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, and which paper will be able to claim to be the largest one in terms of circulation. You can read that here, but for the recap, here are the main points: