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New York Times falling numbers frequently cited on FOX are actually better than many others in industry

Reported by Chrish - March 16, 2008 -

Folks at FOX News are fond of saying that the New York Times is losing readers because of their alleged "liberal bias" and anti-American reporting of facts. A recent report confirms that the NYTimes is indeed losing readers, but not nearly as many as a significant number of other major American papers.

The report, found at Editor and Publisher, says

"In just four years the top newspapers in the U.S. have collectively lost about 1.4 million copies in daily circulation, E&P has found. But since the reported numbers come out every six months, the overall decline for individual papers may not hit home for many. Each fall off is usually in the low- to mid-single digits -- but it sure adds up.

While the industry has lost about 10% of circulation overall in the past four years among the leading papers, some have bled much more than others during the same period, according to an E&P analysis of data from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The Los Angles Times lost 20% of daily circulation or more than 200,000 copies over the past four years, for example, while up the coast the San Francisco Chronicle's daily circulation dropped almost 30%.

The Boston Globe plunged about 20% and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution almost 17%. The Washington Post took an 13% hit. The New York Times is down a more palatable 7.2%."

The article details comparative circulation figures from six month periods ending in September, 2003 and 2007. The declines are attributed to an exposition of number fudging, which caused advertisers and others to closely scrutinize those numbers:

"In that September 2003 report, overall daily circulation for the papers reporting to ABC fell about 0.4%, more or less the average decline (then). It wasn't until the summer of 2004 when Newsday, The Dallas Morning News, the Chicago Sun-Times and others admitted to misstating circulation by thousands of copies, that overall circulation started dropping at least 2%.

The scandals caused advertisers and industry watchers to put circulation under a microscope. Publishers began cutting out what is considered "lesser quality" circulation. That type of circulation falls under the category "other paid."

Many newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Boston Globe began cutting other paid circulation -- employee, hotel, newspapers in educations and especially third party sponsored copies -- hence some of the steep decreases."

The "Do Not Call" list, which went into effect October 2003, is also cited as a cause for circulation drops. The article doesn't mention the impact of the Internet and on-line publishing on paper circulation but it has clearly had an effect. I know I resisted for years, being an avid daily paper consumer, but finally had to admit I was doing so much reading on line I didn't have time for the paper. Add in lighter laptops and the prevalence of wi-fi hotspots, and the continuing consumption of resources was no longer justifiable.

So next time you hear Bill O'Reilly or FOX Friends saying the NYTimes is "in the toilet" because of their "liberal bias" turning off readers, remember that the entire industry is suffering a downturn for reasons unrelated, and the folks at FOX have an agenda. As in most abusive relationships, they want their followers to trust only them so spend an inordinate amount of time demonizing all others. It really is pretty sick, when you think of it.