Newspaper circulation drops in US

April 29th, 2008 - 2:14 am ICT by admin  

Los Angeles, April 29 (DPA) Newspaper circulation fell 3.6 percent in the six months ending in March as the transition from paper to online continued apace, according to figures released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. At least one Wisconsin newspaper has taken the bull by the horns, stopping its nearly 100-year-old print edition and going entirely to online production.

The New York Times’ circulation fall 3.85 percent while its Sunday circulation dropped more than 9 percent. The only major newspapers to buck the trend were USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, which both experienced gains of less than 1 percent.

The Los Angeles Times reported a drop of 5.13 percent in weekday circulation.

Weekday print circulation at 530 newspapers fell to 41.1 million from 42.6 million a year earlier, while average Sunday print circulation for the six months through March fell 4.6 percent.

“That decline is certainly worse than in the past few years,” Rick Edmonds, of the Poynter Institute, a non-profit continuing education source for journalists, told Bloomberg News. Newspapers are cutting back on trial subscriptions in order to lower circulation costs, he said.

The figures underlined the crisis facing the US newspaper industry as readers increasingly get their news online, where advertising rates are not nearly enough to compensate for the drop in subscriptions.

The Capital Times, a 90-year-old publication in Madison, Wisconsin is not waiting for doom to strike. The newspaper has seen its circulation drop from a high of around 40,000 in the 1960’s to 18,000. It stopped its presses after printing its Saturday edition and now publishes solely online.

The paper cut staff by about 20 through buyouts and now has a staff of 40 publishing a web-only product.

“We felt our audience was shrinking so that we were not relevant,” Clayton Frink, the publisher of The Capital Times, said in an interview with The New York Times. “We are going a little farther, a little faster, but the general trend is happening everywhere.”

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