Monday, October 27, 2008

Big newspapers continue to lose circulation

Circulation continues to fall at big newspapers, Editor & Publisher reports. Wall Street Journal and USA Today were flat, but most other big papers fell, including the Chicago Tribune, which reported a 7.7 percent decline. It would be interesting to see recent numbers from the Tribune after its major redesign. It had lost 7.7 percent daily and 5.7 percent on Sunday for the six months preceding September, which was when its redesign hit the streets.

Different worlds of media

Howard Kurz of the Washington Post offers a nice piece on "two different realities, a Sean Hannity reality and a Keith Olbermann reality" (the quote is actually from Barak Obama). Although limited to broadcast, it brings into sharp focus the demand for agenda-driven media with which one agrees. Frankly, as I read some of the editorial endorsements and rebuttals over the weekend, I, too, wondered if we came from the same world. Could Rick Esenberg and the Journal Sentinel editorial board be writing about the same candidates? How about the local talk radio presenters (I love that British term, which is accurate and not value-laden)? Sykes, Belling, et. al. on the one hand and WNOV's lineup with Joel McNally and Eric Von?

Frankly, journalism has been moving away from the purely objective model for quite some time, especially driven by broadcast. Virtually every news standup these days ends with a comment, either from the reporter or the studio folks. With that as a background, I think audiences are expecting viewpoints -- and we all like viewpoints with which we agree.

Forbes looks at the newspaper business

And it doesn't paint a very optimistic picture. Nevertheless, the story is complete, listing some good news for smaller newspapers. Still, the picture is pretty dim for big papers, Forbes believes.