The Audit Bureau of Circulations released its spring figures on newspaper circulation for the six months ending March 31, 2009. And they are scary, particularly for some of the newspapers that are already in trouble. The Boston Globe daily dropped 13.6%, to 302,638; its Sunday decreased 11.2% to 466, 665. The Chicago Tribune lost 7.4% of its daily circulation, to 501, 202, while its Sunday circ dropped 4.5% to 858,256. The San Francisco Chronicle showed a lost of 15.7% in its daily, to 312,118; the Philadelphia Inquirer shed 13.7%, to 288,298; and the daily Atlanta Journal-Constitution fell nearly 20%, to 261,828. The overall average for the 395 newspapers reporting was 7%.
Speaking last week about the Boston Globe at the New York Times Company shareholders' meeting, chairman Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., expressed his hope that the Globe will not be shut down, as has been promised if the papers' union does not find $20 million in concessions in the next few weeks. Sulzberger did not go on to expand on this.
Sulzberger and the future of the Times are also the subject of an in-depth Vanity Fair piece this month. As much as Sulzberger insists that his job is to "keep the Times on course," author Mark Bowden wonders whether he understands that today "staying on course means turning the ship around."
In the circulations audit, while the Daily News and the New York Post both posted huge losses, 14% and 16% respectively, the New York Times did better than the average, showing a better-than-average 3.5% drop to 1,039,031 for the daily and a mere 1.7% drop in Sunday circ, to 1,451,233. Crosstown rival The Wall Street Journal actually showed a small increase of 0.6% in its daily circ, to 2,082,189.
Jim McDermott, SJ