More bad news for newspapers -- circulation declines continue
Here in Florida, the St. Petersburg Times lost 19,873 subscribers daily from September 2007 levels, a dip of 6 percent. On Sundays, our circulation basically stayed steady, rising by 337 subscriptions to 390,289. I don't think it's much of a coincidence that these changes happened during a time when we shrank the size of our daily paper, while shifting most of our best work to Sundays.
The Tampa Tribune dropped 4,560 daily subscribers from September 2007 to September 2008, down to 187,689 paid subscribers. On Sundays, the Tribune's paid circulation dropped 3,785 to 258,089 subscriptions, or about 1.4 percent.
Elsewhere in Florida, the news didn't get much better: the Herald Tribune in Sarasota was down 7,247 to 97,824 on Sundays, down 4,676 to 84,291 daily. The Miami Herald lost 27,702 on Sundays to 279,484 and 28,296 daily to 210,884. The Orlando Sentinel also dropped 7,043 to 206,363 daily and down 10,418 on Sundays to 307,976.
Nationwide, among the five biggest papers, only USA Today and the Wall Street Journal kept circulation essentially even daily, at 2.2-million and 2-million subscribers, respectively. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and New York Daily News all lost circulation in drops ranging from 3 percent to 7 percent.
And the good news, as presented by trade magazine Editor and Publisher, didn't feel so good. The Top 10 gainers in circulation only included one paper with more than 100,000 subscribers, the Las Vegas Review Journal, which gained .85 percent to 165,010.
So, as we've seen, the trend of really small and really big papers maintaining their subscribers is continuing. But for the rest of us in the big middle, there seems to be little but tough times on the horizon.