Thursday, October 31, 2013

Alliance for Audited Media No Longer Providing Clear Newspaper Circulation Information

Alan D. Mutter of Newsosaur reports that the Alliance for Audited Media is no longer providing even ball park accuracy in newspaper circulation numbers.
Owing to a series of changes adopted by the industry-funded organization over the years, publishers no longer have to provide a five-day average of daily circulation. They also have the liberty of counting a woman who reads the paper in print, on her office computer, on her personal laptop, on her tablet and on her smartphone as five separate subscribers.

Some newspapers take advantage of these options and others do not, eliminating seemingly forever the possibility of comparing apples-to-apples data across the industry – or even from year to year for the same publication, if it changes its reporting standards over time.
Andrew Beaujon at Poynter tries to stitch together a patchwork quilt comparison of September 2014 numbers with September 2013 for some major U.S. newspapers.

1. USA Today total circulation is up 67% to 2,876,586 which includes 1,545,364 in digital circulation, but print circulation is down 19%.

2. New York Times circulation is up 14% to 1,897,890, including an 18% rise in digital circulation.  But, it saw a 2% drop in Sunday print circulation and a 6% drop in weekday print circulation.

3. Wall Street Journal circulation fell 4% to 2,273,767.

4. Washington Post circulation rose 19% to 800,643.

An important sidelight is that circulation revenue at the New York Times has passed advertising revenue.  Beaujon continues:
Circulation revenue long ago passed advertising revenue at the New York Times Co. It was up nearly 5 percent in the third quarter and is up 6.5 percent for the first nine months of 2013. Advertising revenue is down by nearly the same percentage over the first three quarters.
Circulation revenue now accounts for 56% of New York Times total revenue.

Newsosaur notes that ad revenue is down only for newspapers (-5.5%) from a year ago for the first half of 2013--not for TV (+6.4%), magazines (+0.4%) or radio (0%).

First half 2013 total for digital advertising is up 18% to $20.1 billion.  This is more than double the estimated $8.6 billion for print newspaper advertising.  TV advertising for the same period is about $18.4 billion, magazine advertising $9.4 billion, and radio advertising $4.3 billion.
Newspaper Association of America revenue reports can be found here.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fox News Prime Time Program Shifts Pay Off

In the two weeks since Fox News has switched Greta Van Susteren to an earlier hour, Sean Hannity to a later hour, and inserted Megan Kelly after Bill O'Reilly, all prime-time slots have had better cable news viewing percentages.

Ratings in % of cable news viewers (P2+):

. . . . . . . . . . 09/30 . . . . . 10/07 . . . . . 10/14
Bret Baier . .  45.3%  . . . . 46.5%  . . . . 47.6%
Greta . . . . .  43.3%  . . . . 48.8% . . . .  46.9%
O'Reilly . . . . 54.1%  . . . . 58.2%  . . . . 62.2%
M Kelly  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  52.3%  . . . . 54.7%
Hannity  . . .  42.3% . . . .  48.5%  . . . . 49.1%

Besides raising her viewer percentage from her later time slot, Greta Van Susteren, who took over Shep Smith's 6:00 pm slot, raised the ratings in his time slot too.  Smith's 09/30 had 44.6% of viewers, and Greta has raised it 2 points to 46.9%.

Megan Kelly, who took over Sean Hannity's slot, raised ratings of the 9:00 pm slot 12 points, from 42.3% to 54.7%.

Sean Hannity, who took over Greta Van Susteran's slot, raised 10:00 pm ratings almost 6 points from 43.3% to 49.1%.

Bret Baier has seen a 2 point rise, and Bill O'Reilly gained 8 points.

Overall, Fox News has raised its prime time rating 9 points from 46.3% on 09/30 to 55.4% on 10/14.

The Fox News gain seems to have come from CNN as the senior cable news has dropped 10 points from 20.2% on 09/30 to 10.2% on 10/14.

MSNBC has stayed basically the same with a prime time rating loss of about half a point from 23.9% on 09/30 to 23.5% on 10/14.*
*The other 10% to 18% of prime time cable news viewers watch Fox Business Network, HLN or CNBC.

Update: 10/14 percentages have been corrected.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

25 Heroes Who Died August 20 to October 13, 2013

August 20 - Master Sgt. George A. Bannar Jr., 37, of Orange, Va., died of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire in Wardak Province, Afghanistan.

August 23 - They died in Haft Asiab, Afghanistan, from wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device during combat operations. Killed were:
- Spc. Kenneth Clifford Alvarez, 23, of Santa Maria, Calif., and
- Pvt. Jonathon Michael Dean Hostetter, 20, of Humphreys, Mo.

August 26 - 1st Lt. Jason Togi, 24, of Pago Pago, American Samoa, died in Hasan Karez, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

August 28 - Sgt. 1st Class Ricardo D. Young, 34, of Rosston, Ark., died in Farah Province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.
- Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis, 24, of Staten Island, N.Y., died in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device, small arms and indirect fire.

August 31 - Staff Sgt. Joshua J. Bowden, 28, of Villa Rica, Ga., died in Ghazni, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire while on dismounted patrol.

September 5 - Staff Sgt. Todd J. Lobraico Jr., 22, of New Fairfield, Conn., died from wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire near Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

September 13 - Staff Sgt. Robert E. Thomas Jr., 24, of Fontana, Calif., died at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, of wounds suffered during a non-combat related incident on April 21, 2013, in Maiwand, Afghanistan.
- Staff Sgt. Randall R. Lane, 43, of Indianapolis, Ind., died in Kabul, Afghanistan, from a non-combat related illness.

September 19 - Sgt. William D. Brown III, 44, of Franklin, N.C., died in Laghman Province, Afghanistan, from a non-combat incident. The soldier's death is under investigation.

September 20 - Spc. James T. Wickliffchacin, 22, of Edmond, Okla., died at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his dismounted patrol during combat operations in Pul-E-Alam, Afghanistan on Aug. 12.

September 21 - They died at Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with small arms fire while conducting range training in Gardez, Paktia Province, Afghanistan. Killed were:
- Staff Sgt. Liam J. Nevins, 32, of Denver, Colo.,
- Staff Sgt. Timothy R. McGill, 30, of Ramsey, N.J.,
- Spc. Joshua J. Strickland, 23, of Woodstock, Ga.

September 22 - They died as a result of an MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter crash while operating in the central Red Sea. Killed were:
- Lt. Cmdr. Landon L. Jones, 35, of Lompoc, Calif., and
Jonathon S. Gibson
- Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan S. Gibson, 32, of Aurora, Ore.  The Oregonian reports:
Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Shelby Gibson, 32, who formerly lived in Aurora, and Lt. Cmdr. Landon L. Jones, 35, of Lompoc, Calif., were reported missing after an MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter crashed while trying to land on the deck of the USS William P. Lawrence, a guided-missile destroyer, authorities said.

Three others aboard the helicopter were rescued from the sea.

The cause of the helicopter is not believed to be linked to any hostile activity.

Gibson joined the Navy in 1998 and worked as an aviation operations technician. Kelly Gibson of Aurora, his stepmother, described Jonathan as a dedicated family man known for being athletic, having a sharp sense of humor and showing a strong sense of duty.

She said he lived with his wife, Christina, and two children, Kaylie, 6, and Alexander, 4, in the San Diego area.

Gibson spent much of his childhood in Kentucky with his older brother, James, and their birth mother. He moved to Oregon to live with his father, Scott Gibson, after graduating from high school and enlisted soon after that.

His father’s serving in the U.S. Army was a big influence on Gibson, his stepmother said.

“We found out about this on Sunday and we’re all still very much in shock,” said Kelly Gibson. “He loved his job and his family very, very much.”

Gibson was nearing the end of a nine-month deployment to sea, his stepmother said. He planned to become a flight instructor and spend more time with his family. 
September 26 - Staff Sgt. Thomas A. Baysore, Jr., 31, of Milton, Pa., died in Paktya Province, Afghanistan, from wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire during combat operations.

October 5 - Lance Cpl. Jeremiah M. Collins, Jr., 19, of Milwaukee, Wis., died while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
- Spc. Angel L. Lopez, 27, of Parma, Ohio, died in Zabul province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire.

October 6 - They died in Zhari District, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.  Killed were:
- 1st Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno, 25, of San Diego, Calif., 
- Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins, 25, of Carlisle, Pa., 
- Sgt. Joseph M. Peters, 24, of Springfield, Mo.,
Cody J. Patterson
- Pfc. Cody J. Patterson, 24, of Philomath, Ore.  KPTV reports:
Pfc. Cody Patterson was 24 years old.

He was killed Sunday in the Zhari District of Afghanistan, where enemy forces used an improvised explosive device, DOD officials said. The Los Angeles Times reports the Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing, and that two suicide bombers were involved.

Patterson was born in Corvallis and graduated from Philomath High School.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army, completed basic training as an infantryman in Fort Benning, GA, and then graduated from the basic Airborne Course there. He went on to graduate from the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program, and then was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment as a rifleman.

This was Patterson's second deployment to Afghanistan.

The commander of his regiment, Col. Christopher Vanek, said Patterson had "a limitless future."
"He would have been successful in whatever path he had chosen in life," Vanek said. "He chose to serve his country by volunteering for the most difficult and challenging duties of a United States Army Ranger."

Patterson, who was awarded several medals, badges and service ribbons during his time in the Army, was posthumously awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Purple Heart and NATO Medal.

Patterson is survived by his mother, Nancy Wilson, who lives in Corvallis; and his father, Randy Patterson, and sister, Taylor, who both live in Philomath.
Pfc. Patterson was one of the military heroes whose family was denied military benefits by the Obama administration Department of Defense under the government shut(slim)down. A private charity, Fisher House Foundation, stepped in to supply needed funds to the military families. KOIN:
As if grieving isn't hard enough for his family, the federal government shutdown -- stretching into its second week -- is taking another toll. This week his family learned that not only is their beloved 24-year-old gone, but so are his military death benefits -- at least for now.

"[It's] very disrespectful," said Arlene Walters on hearing the news of the shutdown's impacts on the U.S. military's death benefit. "My husband says it's the lowest you can get."

Her son, Staff Sgt. Donald Walters of Salem, was killed in Iraq in 2003. She is saddened to learn that soldier's promised death benefits are on hold due to the government shutdown.

"I would be very disgusted with the government," she said. "What if we say we're not going to fight if they're not going to respect us when they die?"

Normally soldier's families receive a $100,000 death benefit within 36 hours to help pay for the funeral costs and the cost of flying families to be there when the bodies of their loved ones are returned to U.S. soil, according to a CBS report. All U.S. military members killed overseas are flown to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware "for processing," according to the Associated Press.

Private charities have stepped forward to cover expenses for families like Cody Patterson's -- as Congress scrambles to reinstate the military benefit. At last word a bipartisan group of senators is asking the defense secretary to restore death benefits for families.
October 13 - Staff Sgt. Patrick H. Quinn, 26, of Quarryville, Pa., died in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when the enemy attacked his base with small arms fire.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Shutdown Becoming the New Sequester?

Remember the dire predictions about what would happen to life when the sequester hit?

Well, here we are seven months later, and life has not come to a halt after the March 1st sequester kicked in. There hasn't been a great(er) recession and, except for visits to the White House, life doesn't seem to be much affected.

The government shutdown is beginning to look the same.  Hours from a week of federal government shutdown, the consequences are hard to see on the personal level. (No one in my extended family has felt even a twinge of impact except my brother, a federal employee, who has gotten a week of what will be paid vacation as the President and Senate leadership have changed their minds and agreed with House leadership on approving paying them retroactively in piecemeal legislation.)

Ira Stoll of the New York Sun writes:
The government “shutdown” is starting to feel a lot like the sequester — a lot of alarmist warnings that the sky is going to fall, followed by business pretty much as usual.

That’s not to minimize the genuine inconvenience or worse for those government employees who have been furloughed, or for cancer patients involved in clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health, an institution that House Republicans voted to fund but that Senate Democrats are holding hostage.

For most of the rest of us, it turns out that the government can “shut down” and life goes on pretty much the same as it did before. Now there’s a valuable insight that it’s almost worth having the government shut down to discover.
Every day that passes without dire consequences--or any consequences--makes the politicians and media who hyped a disaster look like liars or fools.

It is a "valuable insight" that "the government can 'shut down' and life [go] on pretty much the same as it did before". Add to that the insight that politicians and big media have their own agenda which too often doesn't line up with the truth, and you have a valuable learning experience for the American public.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

What Government Shutdown? 85% of the Federal Government Is Being Funded and Is Operating

The reason most people aren't feeling any impact by the government "shutdown" is that 85% of government programs are being funded and running. Senator Rand Paul:
"But one of the under-reported stories here is 85 percent of government is being funded," Paul told Fox News's Sean Hannity on Tuesday. "Two thirds of the government is Social Security, Medicare -- all of that is going on. And then we agreed yesterday, Harry Reid did come forward when we asked him to, and he finally agreed to pay the soldiers. So now we're up to that, 85 percent of the government."
Social security and medicare are being funded. I haven't heard of anyone not receiving food stamps. I haven't heard of IRS shut downs. (Well, Max, tells about the help lines.) Congress and the Obama administration are still being funded.

Apparently even PBS is getting funded.

Now all they have to do is compromise on the 15% left. It looks like the city of Washington, D. C. might be the only big loser.
On Tuesday, House Republicans tried unsuccessfully to pass three additional funding bills for veterans programs, national parks, monuments and museums, and the city of Washington, D.C. House Democrats refused to go along, and neither will the Democrat-led Senate.
The government shutdown is turning out to be like the wailing over the coming horrors of sequestration--a lot of public political smoke and no fire.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Gordon's Obamacare Penalty Fix

Gordon Durand has a great post on how to avoid the Obamacare penalty: just make sure your W-4 doesn't leave you with a refund. He quotes the legislation which clearly says:
  1. WAIVER OF CRIMINAL PENALTIES. In the case of any failure by a taxpayer to timely pay any penalty imposedby this section, such taxpayer shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution or penalty with respect to such failure.
  2. LIMITATIONS ON LIENS AND LEVIES. The Secretary shall not
    1. file notice of lien with respect to any property of a taxpayer by reason of any failure to pay the penalty imposed by this section, or
    2. levy on any such property with respect to such failure.
Brilliant! And, it's the law of the land.