Those with concerns about circulation vitality of the medium will find fodder in the latest figures. Significant drops came at some of the nation's best-known titles, like Tribune Co.'s Los Angeles Times (daily circulation down 5.6%) and Chicago Tribune (daily circulation down 2.3%). Both papers' weak showings had been previously disclosed by Tribune in a conference call with investors. Among the nation's 50 largest newspapers, the L.A. Times posted the largest decline in Sunday circulation as well-6.3%. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal were both essentially flat in daily circulation, up just 0.2% and 0.8% respectively.
The nation's largest daily, USA Today, posted a Monday-Thursday increase of 3.1%. But a closer look at the figures finds that all of that gain, and then some, came from the "other paid" category-copies bought in bulk by businesses like hotels for at least 25% of "basic subscription price. (USA Today's weekend-edition Friday gains of 1.9%, though, came while its "other paid" circulation declined slightly.)
Hearst Newspapers' San Francisco Chronicle also suffered a serious decline, posting a daily loss of 6.3%. The biggest losers among the nation's 100 largest newspapers were the Greensburg (Pa.) Tribune Review and Investor's Business Daily, which respectively posted declines of 9.6% and 8.6%.
While the biggest gainer among the 100 largest newspapers was San Juan's Primera Hora, as always one top-10 daily stood out for its contrapuntal trendlines. News Corp.'s New York Post saw its daily circulation shoot up 5.2%-a slight slowdown from previous gains, but a very strong showing nonetheless.
Like its tabloid brethren in New York-Tribune's Newsday and Mort Zuckerman's New York Daily News-the Post last week had circulation data requested by the Securities and Exchange Commission, a development that came as a probe into Newsday's practices widened.
The SEC has also asked several publicly traded newspaper companies for information about circulation practices.