Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oregonian Circulation Falls 5.8%

The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) report for September 30, 2012  brings more bad news for the Oregonian.  With the exception of a slight gain (1.55%) in circulation in September, 2011, the Oregonian has now seen a drop in circulation in every report since March of 2005.  This year the 228,599 circulation is a decline of 5.8% from a year ago.  This compares with a mild 0.2% drop in circulation among the 613 dailies ABC tracks.

The Oregonian's decrease is despite marketing efforts that have included a Tuesday/Sunday delivery package for only $19.99 a year offered last March.

Such efforts have not staunched losses which have amounted to a drop of 1/3rd in the Oregonian's circulation in ten years (342,789 in September 2002) and 1/4th in the last five years (309,467 in September 2007).

The New York Times (NYT), which saw a 40% increase in circulation in the last year, has actually lost print circulation. (down from 770,586 in September 2011 to 717,513 in 2012)  However, digital circulation rocketed from 380,003 in 2011 to 896,352 this year.

In terms of digital circulation rate, NYT's growth rate has slowed in the last six months to 11% while the Wall Street Journal's (WSJ) digital circulation rate has grown almost 44% since March.  In September 2011 NYT was playing catch up to WSJ's digital circulation dominance. (WSJ 537,469 vs NYT 380,003)  Now WSJ is the one trying to close the gap. (NYT 896,352 vs WSJ 794,594)  Still, WSJ's print dominance (more than double NYT's print circulation) keeps it almost 680,000 in the lead for total daily circulation.

Here are ABC's stats for the daily circulation of the top 25 U.S. newspapers:

                               Total Average Circulation    Total Average Circulation   
Newspaper Name                as of 9/30/12                 as of 9/30/11          % Change
WALL STREET JOURNAL      2,293,798                     2,096,169                   9.4%
USA TODAY                       1,713,833                     1,784,242                  -3.9%
NEW YORK TIMES               1,613,865                    1,150,589                  40.3%
LOS ANGELES TIMES             641,369                       572,998                  11.9%
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS        535,875                       605,677                 -11.5%
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS    529,999                       527,568                    0.5%
NEW YORK POST                  522,868                        512,067                   2.1%
WASHINGTON POST              462,228                        507,465                  -8.9%
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES            432,455                        389,352                  11.1%
DENVER POST                      412,669                        353,115                  16.9%
CHICAGO TRIBUNE                411,960                        425,370                  -3.2%
DALLAS MORNING NEWS       410,130                        409,642                    0.1%
NEWSDAY                            392,989                        404,542                  -2.9%
HOUSTON CHRONICLE           325,814                        369,710                 -11.9%
ST. PETERSBURG TIMES        313,003                        240,024                  30.4%
NEWARK STAR-LEDGER        311,904                        210,586                  48.1%
MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE 300,277                        298,147                   0.7%
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER       296,427                        331,132                 -10.5%
CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER    293,139                        243,299                  20.5%
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER  285,088                        270,809                    5.3%
ARIZONA REPUBLIC              275,622                        292,838                   -5.9%
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL  252,174                     213,078                  18.3%
BOSTON GLOBE                   230,351                        205,939                   11.9%
OREGONIAN                         228,599                        242,784                   -5.8%
HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER 224,973                    178,082                   26.3%

Thursday, October 18, 2012

17 Heroes Who Died August 4 and September 26 to October 13, 2012

August 4 - Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Milton W. Brown, 28, of Dallas, Texas, died Aug. 4, from a non-combat related incident in Rota, Spain.

September 26 - They died in Pul-E Alam, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when an insurgent wearing a suicide vest detonated the device near their patrol. Killed were:
- Staff Sgt. Orion N. Sparks, 29, of Tucson, Ariz., and
- Sgt. Jonathan A. Gollnitz, 28, of Lakehurst, N.J.

September 28 - Sgt. 1st Class Riley G. Stephens, 39, of Tolar, Texas, died in Wardak, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained from enemy small arms fire.

September 29 - Sgt. 1st Class Daniel T. Metcalfe, 29, of Liverpool, N.Y., died in Sayyid Abad, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when his unit was attacked with small arms fire. The incident is under investigation.

October 1 - They died in Khost, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when an insurgent detonated a suicide vest while they were on dismounted patrol. Killed were:
- Sgt. Thomas J. Butler IV, 25, of Wilmington, N.C.;
- Sgt. Jeremy F. Hardison, 23, of Maysville, N.C. and
- Sgt. Donna R. Johnson, 29, of Raeford, N.C.

October 2 - Sgt. 1st Class Aaron A. Henderson, 33, of Houlton, Maine, died at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit on Sept. 30 with an improvised explosive device in Zombalay Village, Afghanistan.

October 3 - Sgt. Camella M. Steedley, 31, of San Diego, Calif., died while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. The cause of death is under investigation.

October 6 - They died in Chak district, Wardak Province, Afghanistan, of gunshot wounds suffered while on dismounted patrol. Killed were:
- Warrant Officer Joseph L. Schiro, 27, of Coral Springs, Fla., and
- Staff Sgt. Justin C. Marquez, 25, of Aberdeen, N.C.

October 12 - Sgt. Thomas R. Macpherson, 26, of Long Beach, Calif., died in Andar District, Afghanistan, from small arms fire while on patrol during combat operations.
- Cmdr. Joel Del Mundo Tiu, 49, of Manila, Philippines died as a result of non-combat related injuries.

October 13 - Sgt. 1st Class Ryan J. Savard, 29, of Sierra Vista, Ariz., died in Khanabad District, Afghanistan, from small arms fire while on patrol during combat operations
- Spc. Brittany B. Gordon, 24, of St. Petersburg, Fla., died in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked her unit with an improvised explosive device.
- Sgt. Robert J. Billings, 30, of Clarksville, Va., died in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Newspaper Readership Dips Below Book Readership

Only 23% of Americans now read a print newspaper on any given day even though 51% of Americans "enjoy reading a lot" and on any given day 30% of Americans read a book in print.*

What a difference from 2002 when 41% of Americans read a print newspaper--a loss of 18% as the chart to the side shows.

By contrast print books lost only 4% in the past decade and daily book reading actually gained 2%* if you include digital book reading. Combing print and digital newspaper reading only raises the newspaper total to 29% in 2012 (still down 12% from 2002).

Why have newspapers suffered such a dramatic loss when magazines and books have not?

One reason might be that newspapers have lost credibility as a news source. Take, for example, the singular role that Nigel Jaquiss and Willamette Week have as an Oregon major print news breaking source despite competing with giants like the Oregonian (one of the top 25 U.S. newspapers in circulation).

The implosion of the Jefferson Smith mayoral campaign makes the point. It was Jaquiss who broke the story that Rep. Smith was cited in 1993 for assaulting a woman. The Oregonian's coverage had to admit the Jaquiss reporting as the key mover of this story:
Jefferson Smith's mayoral campaign called a news conference Monday afternoon, just hours after Willamette Week reported that Smith, 39, had been cited on an accusation of misdemeanor assault involving a woman in 1993 when he was a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Oregon in Eugene.
One would think with the leg up of having Jaquiss uncover the story that the Oregonian would use its vastly superior numbers in reporters and funding to to be in the lead in following this up.

But, no. Again Nigel Jaquiss was the first to find the woman involved who agreed to release the police report of the incident (a report Eugene police said no longer existed in its records). In a Monday, October 8th, story (posted before 7:30 pm) Jaquiss wrote:
WW obtained the police report Monday from the woman's lawyer, John Bassett, after she spoke to the newspaper.
By contrast the Oregonian's story was posted 2-1/2 hours later (October 8th at 10 pm), but did not mention Willamette Week's key role in obtaining the police report.

In two recent posts Max Redline has pointed to the credibility problem of news media and to the Oregonian's credibility problem in particular. Failure to uncover Jefferson Smith's violent past and present lies without the help of reporters like Jaquiss underlines the point.

Jaquiss and Willamette Week have beaten the Oregonian on huge Oregon political stories before (the Neil Goldschmidt scandal for which Jaquiss won a Pulitzer and the Sam Adams/Beau Breedlove affair and cover up). Again, with Jefferson Smith, a small newspaper shows the emperor has no clothes when it comes to blue blood newspapers like the Oregonian. It becomes easier to understand why more people would reach for a book than a newspaper.
*The current Pew Research Center report does note that 29% of Americans read a newspaper if you include digital version, but does not give a similar percentage if digital books are included in the book figure. However, an earlier Pew report indicates that as of December 2011, 84% of those who read a book "yesterday" read a print book. That would pencil out to about a 36% rate for daily book reading combining print, digital and audio.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

NY Sun: Inflating Money Unconstitutional?

Another thought provoking editorial by the New York Sun (in part):
It’s going to be illuminating to see whether the government appeals the big ruling on judges’ pay that was handed down last week at Washington. The case is called Beer v. United States. The Sun has written about it here and the editor of the Sun here. The plaintiffs are Judge Peter Beer and a rainbow coalition of some of the most distinguished judges on the federal bench. They have just won a ruling that prohibits Congress from suspending a system of automatic pay increases designed to protect their honors from inflation.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, handed down the ruling on Friday. The ruling . . . [is] one of the most important cases of our time. The reason is that it has to do not only with the question of need for Congress to keep its promises and the need to attract a first class judiciary but also the question of constitutional money.
. . .
The idea that a dollar could be worth a different number of grains of silver or gold at the end of a contract than it meant at the beginning of a contract would have horrified George Washington and nearly all of the other Founders (Benjamin Franklin, a printer, had a vested interest in paper money). So would the idea that the dollar would be permitted to decline over a decade to but a sixth of the number of grains of gold at which it was valued at the start of a decade. That is what has just happened in America.

The court deciding Beer didn’t get into legal tender per se. But the legal tender question is the elephant in the courtroom, so to speak. If a dollar can’t be diminished for judges — that is, if the legal tender laws are not good enough for judges — why should they be good enough for the rest of us? If they are not good enough for the contract between the government and judges, why should they be good enough for contracts between private parties?
. . .
We don’t know whether the Supreme Court will be asked to hear an appeal of Beer. If it is asked, it may decline. But if the nine are asked to take a final look at the case, the question for them to start thinking about is less the promises of Congress — although breaking such a promise is enough of a diminishment for us — and more about the meaning of money. The fact is that Americans are just as upset about the harm being done to them by fiat money as the judges are.