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Circulation Down 2.8 percent

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by HeinekenMan, Oct 30, 2006.

  1. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    I just read today's news that circulation dropped 2.8 percent for the most recent six-month period.

    At the end of the article, it notes that Nielsen reported that the third-quarter figure for internet traffic on newspaper Web sites climbed 24 percent from the same period a year ago. It also mentioned that almost 37 percent of all net users are now hitting the web sites.

    We've thrown these matters around for months, and there's been a lot of great insight. I still think web traffic is driving down print circulation. That seems to be the bottom-line facts. A lot of suggestions have been made in regard to fixes for the revenue loss caused by the circulation drops. We've heard everything from charging for web access to chasing after more ad revenue on the net sites. Mostly, though, the suggestions have been unprove. Perhaps it's time to implement some change?
  2. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Active Member

    A couple thoughts before I run out the door to work.

    Has anyone considered ciriculation may be down because, oh, I don't know: Papers are more shittier now than ever before? I mean, consider this: I have to write, shoot photos and layout pages - AT A DAILY. Do you seriously think I can do a GREAT job at all three? Or, perhaps (as is likely the case) something has to give in each department just to get the product out there? And, therefore, the product is inferior to, say, a website, where writers are DEDICATED TO WRITING.

    And, I want to see BETTER (not more) data in regards to website traffic. I sure as hell don't have a friend or colleague who reads their own town's newspaper on the web. They still buy it. I mean, I read OUT OF TOWN newspapers on the net, but I can't get them delvered. But why would I click an ad on out of town newspaper's site? I mean, it's not like I can shop there anyway, I'm miles and miles away.

    Also, maybe the reason ad revenue is up on the net and down in print is because the net is cheaper to advertise on, so people are getting more ads (but not neccessarily more bang for their buck) by advertising on the web.

    As for the death of newspapers, not that it was brought up: They will never die. You can't take a computer into the bathroom, on a bus, easily share it with a friend, cut it out like you can a newspaper. I've yet to see someone's mom print something off the net about her kid and post it on the fridge. And don't anyone bring up palm pilots, etc etc. The screens are too small.

    Also, advertisers better wise up. People are trained to IGNORE web advertsing. In a decade I think I've clicked on an ad once. ONCE! Computers come with pop-up blockers, you also can download them for free. Also, now there are programs that block the ads right on the page itself so all you see is the real web content. Everyday people loathe internet advertising if you ask me. They think every time you click something that isn't a story or picture, you get infected spyware (which is sometimes the case). Lastly, can you (or do you) print off adds or flyers at home to price compare or bring them to a store?

    I think all the hype surrounding the rise of internet and fall of newspapers is a bunch of propaganda from the publishers and owners who are looking for reasons to cut more jobs and make more profit.
  3. daemon

    daemon Member

    I'm going to pitch a scenario, you tell me what happens:

    Newspaper web sites as we know it cease to exist. You go to herald.com, and there's nothing there.

    Does the surfer say, "Oh well, I'll just watch the 6 o'clock news for a local news."

    Or does he go out and buy a paper on his lunch break? Or, heaven forbid, decides to get it delivered at hom?

    The way we treat the internet would be laughable, except its costing people jobs.

    Make people buy the fucking paper to read their news, and supplement that coverage (photo galaries, digital videos, web-exclusive sidebars, blogs, yadda, yadda yadda) on the web.

    If I could get Sports Illustrated's magazine content online for free, I wouldn't subscribe. I can't get it online for free. Thus, I subscribe.

    (Speaking of SI, I think they've nailed it with their web model. I realize its newspapers and magazines, but I think newspapers should move more toward the way of SI.com -- lots of wire copy and elements that wouldn't fit in the printed product, high-quality, insightful writing and reporting in the hard copy).
  4. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Active Member

    You nailed it. And by subscribing, you get MORE than the magazine, such as the online EXTRAS you talked about.

    The Internet is a complementary tool; a supplementary tool. It makes your No. 1 product better. It shouldn't be making it worse and eventually killing it.
  5. heyabbott

    heyabbott Well-Known Member

    I am not a journalist but I LOVE NEWSPAPERS. I read and subscribe to the NYTimes and WashPost 7 days a week. I do not watch local TV news.
    for 25, 35, 50 cents or even $1 you cannot find a better buy. From the Times, especially, you actually get a range and depth of coverage that is impossible from any other news media. Read the Times writers whoare posted outside of the United States, not just for content but for the sheer pleasure in reading something well crafted.

    The slow death of the newspaper is the slow death of the culture. A citizenry that is not literate, will die. And what passes for literature these days is shallow, melodramatic and overwrought.

    I can live for a few weeks without TV, even the internet, but I must have a newspaper everyday.
  6. somewriter

    somewriter Member

    I read the NY Times, Wash. Post and LA Times extensively every day and can not remember the last time I paid for any of them. However, I have no problem clicking on any ads on their web site.
  7. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Whoever figures out how to use ads on the web so customers will use them will make a very large fortune.
    The car, grocery, and supermarket ads that are the backbone of print contain a great deal of information that doesn't seem to translate well to digital.
    Maybe we should make the Sunday coupons web-clickable. Just a thought.
  8. EStreetJoe

    EStreetJoe Well-Known Member


    From the above article:
    "The gain in newspaper Web readers is greater than the loss in newspaper print sales, according to the association. But that is only modest comfort for publishers, who still depend on print for most of their advertising sales and profits."

    Here's the E&P story on it:
  9. sartrean

    sartrean Member

    Could maybe the death of the newspaper is attributed to more factors than just the rise of the internet and a lack of both print and Web-based ad sales?

    Perhaps the fact that Pew research has shown that more Americans do not trust the media to be balanced, to be fair, to be more than just shills trying to sell a product (the paper, the O'Reilly Factor, or the Brit Hume newshour), or to be less than melodramatic...maybe this could attributed to the decline in newspaper readership. And most complaints I get from people about the news media in general concern two facets of the business: that we're molodramatic, we have tendencies to bandwagon and we make mountains out of molehills. That just turns people off, especially in 10-15 inches, when there's more aspects to any given story.

    Maybe that, in conjunction with Americans being a little more tapped out given our economic situation in most parts of the country and in most strata of socio-economic status. More Americans work longer hours and have other crap going on, like taking little Johnny to soccer practice or cheerleading practice or spelling bee practice, and more Americans are "multi-tasking" to the point where they are always at work -- being that it's easy to log on via your laptop to your office computer and do some work -- make calls on your cell phone -- send some emails on your Blackberry (what's the deal with calling gadgets fruit names? Why the blackberry and not the peach, or the kiwi fruit?). Maybe Americans just don't have any freaking time to sit down and read the feature story on the wheelchair basketball star, or the run-down on the Cards World Series win when they probably heard all about it via emails and water-cooler gossip, or read about it on the CNN or ESPN crawl.

    And then there's a lot of competition out there for what Americans do spend their free time doing or reading. There's much more entertaining Web sites out there than the Hometown Daily News, and most newspapers dumb everything down, and the stories are very brief.

    But more than anything, I think Americans are collectively getting dumber, and fewer Americans read just for the sake of reading something. Just the other day, I was speaking with a second-year high school teacher. She teaches social studies, and I swear to god she said in conversation that she only reads when she has to, meaning reading something for her job, as in an itinerary, a student's report or assignment, or some continuing education stuff. She doesn't read just for the sake of learning about something, anything.

    And the context of the conversation was over politics and voting. She doesn't vote, and feels no urge to do so because she says they're all crooks, but likes the Republicans the best because they say nice simple things that are easy to understand. I countered by pointing out how some Republicans just say what people want to hear, and I gave her concrete examples and backed it up with facts on a given situation that affects my area. She asked me how I knew this and I said because I read, and then pointed out many written primary sources. She said, "I don't read unless I have to..."

    But there's other reasons why newspapers are failing, maybe slowly. Maybe the essence of the matter is people just don't care anymore...maybe the few who still read the papers do so because there's content in it about them, such as a story about a government entity feeling some public backlash or legislative scrutiny, or about a political candidate's run for office, or little Johnny fumbling the ball on the 10-yard line that inevitably turned the corner for Podunk High, which beat Hometown by six.
  10. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    Looks like that philosophy of readers being lured in by attractive design still needs some time to kick in.
  11. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    One trick pony.

    Circulation is up in some places, as noted today by E&P ... wonder if there are any common elements in that growth?
  12. DyePack

    DyePack New Member


    There are plenty more tricks in this bag if you want to discuss declining circulation.
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