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Circulation Down 2.8 percent

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

  1. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member


    What, newspaper circulation is down by design? That's crazy talk, oh wait, it isn't.
    Take, for example, vanity circulation. The Dallas Morning News used to circulate if five states and maintained bureaus in all those places as well.
    They cut 50,000 out of DMN's circulation by dropping the surrounding states, and closed all but one of the bureau's. Saved tons of money by doing both.
    That's just one example. But you have them all over. That doesn't account for all of it, just some, but still it matters. So I wouldn't start planning the wake just yet.
  2. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    In Boston, circulation losses were explained by voluntary cuts in 05. This time, the Globe down 7 percent, the Herald by 12. It's the web. A city of readers is also computer literate. It's really not a problem with the product. It's figuring out how to merge the audience and advertisers in this new format in a way that makes money.
    What we know doesn't work is cutting the print product, then charging readers the same. That this remains newspaper reaction number one to economic trouble is a tribute to stubborn stupidity.
  3. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    True. And advertisers are not interested in paying to reach people who can't shop in their stores because they live 200 miles away. So the distant circulation does you no good.
  4. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Well, I mean honestly, it doesn't seem to matter what we want to talk about over here - for you it always seems to be a chance to grind your axe about design. Fair enough. Do your thing.

    But I'm back to my actual question. Some places seem to able to sell a few more papers than they did last year. Some common pattern there?

    Grab something outta your bag if it helps.
  5. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    I don't need to open the bag after looking at the E&P article.

    I see papers that redesigned -- Baltimore, Minneapolis, Orlando -- losing circulation. That would seem to be an indication that the plan's not working.

    Again: for the contrarians -- when the result is less circulation, that's generally an indication something's not working.

    St. Louis did rise slightly, but I hear a lot of deals were offered when that paper was redesigned.

    As far as the scattered gains -- there's really no way of answering for each isolated community. Maybe the residents were early risers and liked to read in the morning. And maybe they didn't have jobs.

    I'm an educated man, but I'm afraid I can't speak intelligently about the reading habits of Joe American.
  6. Crimson Tide

    Crimson Tide Member

    My shop recently turned off the "talkback" function at the end of every local story we publish to our Web site. (For one thing, they allowed anonymous posting which was a bedlam of libelous statements we had to delete hourly. Yet we have to confirm a person's address and phone number to run a letter in the paper? Nice double-standard.)

    The function was popular with some stories getting a few hundred comments (although it could be argued that many blew into flame wars).

    However, it's never occurred to the management that the reason it's so popular is because they're reading our product for free and getting to spout off about whatever they don't like about it, content or presentation.

    So, would you rather pay a few hundred dollars per year for a subscription and the odds that you won't get a letter published OR would you rather read it for free and express whatever opinion you have under the blanket of anonymity?

    The reading habits of Joe American include the concept of free. Want subscriptions to potentially rise? Get rid of the free content.
  7. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Active Member

    Or, better yet, add MORE content for the same price.

    Someone said it up above: Add photo galleries, video clips and more sidebars etc. on the website; sort of like when you watch Dateline or 20/20 and they say "For more on this story, log onto our website." They don't say "To watch this story for free and without commercial interuption, log onto our website and tune us out."

    Now, the only argument in print is this: We have TWO online "news" sites in our town. (but they are a JOKE!). However, Joe Public can't discern us from them. They just know it's news - and free. They don't care that one (online) is shit and one is good (newsaper). That's the problem, these fly-by-night fuckers making a quick buck with cheap advertising while rewriting press releases in their basement and passing it off as news. I've only seen one of the two websites "sports reporters" at events. The other just rewriters releases and posts scores. But parents and fans at work are logging on all day to get updates.

    Papers have make their readers WANT to read, with several sources in a story (my minimum is four), flare, detail and something they can't get from a press release.
  8. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Everyone has a back in time daydream, you know, like you're the guy in the White House in April 1865 who says, "My friends tell me "Our American Cousin" is a real turkey, Mr. Lincoln. We don't we go out for a couple of beers instead?"
    My daydream is to be present at the first newspaper meeting where the first paper decided that it wouldn't cost much to give away their product on-line, that, in fact, it was really free advertising for the paper.
  9. Editude

    Editude Active Member

    One of the papers in our household does the added online stuff for subscribers, and circulation is still falling. This shift is inevitable as Internet access becomes more mainstream, with entire cities becoming WiFi spots. Advertisers still need to reach focused readers, and ads can't help but follow the eyeballs to the Web; it just takes longer than it should.
  10. Pringle

    Pringle Active Member

    Everyone hates the local newspaper and always will - people love to hate local institutions together. It's a way to find common ground, like bitching about the post office or the office cafeteria.

    I wouldn't pay it too much mind, really.
  11. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    The broadsheet format, with its gas-powered delivery method and early deadlines, is dying.

    But the written word will always be in demand. People still love to read.

    One of the reasons magazines and tabloid-formatted newspapers are doing 'okay' in this new era has everything to do with ease. Easy to carry - easy to read. And don't we all want ease in our lives? Ease is the reason people will pay for Buster Olney's blog. His info, along with his links, make things really easy on the reader... and I know young baseball fans who have forsaken their newspaper subscriptions for Buster's blog.

    Profit-making news websites of the future will be multimedia destinations. Places where you can access original written content, links, video, photos and other creative content. If newspapers want to parlay their "brand names" into these multimedia destinations-- and do it quickly-- they'll have to hire people who know how to work with video, for example. You can't just stick unedited video on a website and call it good. People don't have time to watch that, and they bore easily. And the answer is NOT raw, unedited 'podcasts,' either. A profit will never be made off that kind of thing.

    You've also got to hire video savvy people to navigate the tricky issues of rights and clearances (Sure, YouTube's hot now, and it may very well remain hot, but they're pulling thousands of clips off the site by the day. They're scrambling to avert a Napster scenario.)

    Some newspaper people are snobby and stubborn. Some think (a) They don't need things like video, or (b) Any monkey can 'do' video. Until that kind of attitude changes, I'm afraid it's going to get worse before it gets better for journalists. And that so badly sucks.
  12. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    Regardless of whether your paper is the world's best or worst, there is really no reason for a person not to subscribe.

    It pays to take the paper. It really does.

    A few Sundays ago my $1 Sunday paper saved me $17 in PetSmart purchases.

    It really sucks having to tell readers that if you don't like the news, at least take our paper for the coupons.

    But readers are penny wise and pound foolish if they don't.

    A 25-cent paper (or 50 cents, or $1) is still the single greatest bargain on the planet.

    And likely always will be.
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