Newspapers: writing the obituary

Dateline: Wed 07 May 2008

Thanks to reader Nicholas Martin for passing along this analysis. It appeared on the Lew Blog:

"May 06, 2008

Newspaper Deathwatch Posted by Ryan W. McMaken at May 6, 2008 07:20 PM

"As a wise pundit recently pointed out somewhere - it's not that so

many people keep voluntarily cancelling their subscriptions. It's just

that paid subscriptions expire when the readers do. Newspapers are now

"-- The New York Times lost more than 150,000 copies on Sunday.

Circulation on that day fell a whopping 9.2% to 1,476,400. The paper's

daily circulation declined 3.8% to 1,077,256.

"-- At The Washington Post, daily circulation decreased 3.5% to 673,180

and Sunday dropped 4.3% to 890,163.

"-- Meanwhile, daily circulation at The Wall Street Journal grew a

fraction of a percent, up 0.3% to 2,069,463 copies. At USA Today,

circulation inched up 0.27%* to 2,284,219.

"-- The New York Post lost over 3% daily and more than 8% on Sunday.

"-- Daily circulation at The Orange County Register plunged 11.9% to

250,724 and Sunday fell 5.3% to 311,982.

"-- In Los Angeles, the Times lost more than 40,000 daily copies. Daily circulation there was down 5.1% to 773,884. Sunday declined 6.0% to


"Also Top 25 Sunday Newspapers here - all in decline.

"John Hazelhurst from the Colo. Springs Business Journal pointed out

these facts from Editor and Publisher's other recent news -

"- The core audience of daily newspapers consists of adults 50 and

older. Between 2003 and 2007, 8.4 million Americans in that age range


"- In the large metro areas alone, as many as 1.4 million of the 2.35

million newly dead were daily newspaper readers.

"Now they're gone and not coming back."

Sad but true. The Star's analysis of its profile readership, long before Gannett came in, was a middle-aged white man who drinks martinis and drives a Lincoln. Guess what? He passed away.

A friend recently called to cancel his subscription to the Star, after receiving it for 25 years. The upshot? The circulation person who took the call made no effort to find out why or to offer a better deal. Nobody cares. It's just a corporation, and everyone is a cog in the wheel....


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