See the Top 25 Newspapers

Digital Helps Wall Street Journal Boost Circulation, But Print Slips for Both Journal and New York Times

USA Today Circulation Increases for the First Time Since September 2008

By Published on .

The Wall Street Journal has retained its crown as the country's largest weekday newspaper, reporting total average circulation of 2.1 million over the six months ending in March, followed by USA Today at 1.8 million and The New York Times at 916,911.

The print edition of today's Wall Street Journal
The print edition of today's Wall Street Journal

The Journal increased its average weekday circulation by 1.2% from the six months ending in March 2010, while USA Today edged up 0.1% and The Times declined 3.6%.

The Journal's total was aided by its paid digital circulation, which increased 21.9% to 504,734, while its weekday print circulation slipped 3.9% to 1,613,062.

USA Today's circulation increased year-over-year for the first time since September 2008.

What you can't get from the new round of figures, however, is the usual sense from reports past of how overall newspaper circulation has changed since the equivalent period a year earlier.

That's because The Audit Bureau of Circulations, whose board is composed of advertisers and newspapers, has changed the rules. Instead of reporting total paid circulation, which required that readers paid one way or another, newspapers now report total average circulation, including editions under different names that publish at least weekly -- as long as they are labeled to include the word 'edition' -- such as commuter or alternative language papers.

The 10th-largest weekday paper in today's report, for example, is the Chicago Sun-Times, whose 419,407 average Monday-through-Friday circulation includes 168,299 copies attributed to branded editions. In the report a year ago, the Chicago Sun-Times ranked 17th with average weekday circulation of 268,803.

Complimentary copies ordered by businesses such as hotels, airlines and beauty salons used to count as unpaid; under the new rules they count toward "total average circulation" under a new "verified" category.

But not all the changes will help newspapers increase their totals. Copies distributed in an uncontrolled environment such as a festival formerly qualified as a kind of paid circulation, but now are called unpaid and cannot be counted toward total average circulation.

For many papers, however, their top-line circulation figures includes exactly or roughly the same circulation sources as before.

"The new definitions and formats reflect changes in the way publishers market their newspapers to readers, allowing newspaper companies to more accurately portray the powerful audiences they deliver across a multitude of print, digital and mobile platforms," said John Sturm, president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America, in a statement.

Average Circulation at the Top 25 U.S. Daily Newspapers as of 3/31/11
Preliminary Figures as Filed with the Audit Bureau of Circulations
(Subject to Audit)
State Newspaper Name Frequency Total Circulation Excluding Branded Editions Total Branded Editions Total Average Circulation
NY WALL STREET JOURNAL AVG M (M-F) 2,117,796 2,117,796
DC USA TODAY AVG M (M-F) 1,829,099 1,829,099
NY NEW YORK TIMES AVG M (M-F) 916,911 916,911
CA LOS ANGELES TIMES AVG M (M-F) 605,243 605,243
CA SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS AVG M (M-F) 207,539 370,126 577,665
DC WASHINGTON POST AVG M (M-F) 550,821 550,821
NY NEW YORK DAILY NEWS AVG M (M-F) 530,924 530,924
NY NEW YORK POST AVG M (M-F) 522,874 522,874
IL CHICAGO TRIBUNE AVG M (M-F) 437,205 437,205
IL CHICAGO SUN-TIMES AVG M (M-F) 251,108 168,299 419,407
TX DALLAS MORNING NEWS AVG M (M-F) 251,510 153,441 404,951
TX HOUSTON CHRONICLE AVG M (M-F) 323,998 40,726 364,724
PA PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER AVG M (M-F) 266,582 77,128 343,710
AZ ARIZONA REPUBLIC AVG M (M-F) 337,170 337,170
CO DENVER POST AVG M (M-F) 324,970 324,970
NY NEWSDAY AVG M (M-F) 298,759 298,759
MN STAR TRIBUNE AVG M (M-F) 296,605 296,605
FL ST. PETERSBURG TIMES AVG M (M-F) 275,192 17,249 292,441
OR OREGONIAN AVG AD (M-F) 260,248 260,248
OH CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER AVG M (M-F) 254,372 254,372
WA SEATTLE TIMES AVG M (M-F) 253,742 253,742
MI DETROIT FREE PRESS (e) AVG AD (M-F) 246,169 246,169
CA SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE AVG M (M-F) 235,350 235,350
NJ NEWARK STAR-LEDGER AVG M (M-F) 229,255 229,255
MA BOSTON GLOBE AVG M (M-F) 219,214 219,214
(e) Individually paid core newspaper five-day average reflects a reduced home-delivery schedule
Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations


Average Circulation at the Top 25 U.S. Sunday Newspapers as of 3/31/11
Preliminary Figures as Filed with the Audit Bureau of Circulations
(Subject to Audit)
State Newspaper Name Frequency Total Circulation Excluding Branded Editions Total Branded Editions Total Average Circulation
NY NEW YORK TIMES SUN 1,339,462 1,339,462
CA LOS ANGELES TIMES SUN 948,889 948,889
DC WASHINGTON POST SUN 751,413 101,448 852,861
IL CHICAGO TRIBUNE SUN 780,601 780,601
CA SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS SUN 236,870 400,129 636,999
MI DETROIT FREE PRESS (e) SUN 480,343 133,883 614,226
TX HOUSTON CHRONICLE SUN 512,142 75,842 587,984
NY NEW YORK DAILY NEWS SUN 584,658 584,658
CO DENVER POST SUN 483,197 36 ,641 519,838
MN STAR TRIBUNE SUN 496,039 20,095 516,134
AZ ARIZONA REPUBLIC SUN 511,764 511,764
PA PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER SUN 488,287 488,287
FL ST. PETERSBURG TIMES SUN 429,048 429,048
IL CHICAGO SUN-TIMES SUN 250,908 170,545 421,453
OH CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER SUN 342,683 60,318 403,001
GA ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION SUN 391,815 391,815
TX DALLAS MORNING NEWS SUN 362,969 12,131 375,100
NY NEWSDAY SUN 362,221 362,221
MO ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH SUN 360,450 360,450
MA BOSTON GLOBE SUN 356,652 356,652
NY NEW YORK POST SUN 355,784 355,784
WA SEATTLE TIMES SUN 346,991 346,991
MD BALTIMORE SUN SUN 343,552 343,552
NJ NEWARK STAR-LEDGER SUN 337,416 337,416
WI MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL SUN 333,999 333,999
(e) Individually paid core newspaper five-day average reflects a reduced home-delivery schedule
Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations


Top 25 U.S. Daily Newspaper Print and Online Audience Gainers by DMA
Preliminary Figures as Filed with the Audit Bureau of Circulations
(Subject to Audit)
Net Combined Audience
State City Newspaper Name As of 3/31/11 As of 3/31/10 % Change
IL CHICAGO (COOK CO.) SUN-TIMES (DMA) 3,605,363 2,429,272 48.41%
TX FORT WORTH (TARRANT CO.) STAR-TELEGRAM (DMA) 1,260,063 1,117,138 12.79%
IL CHICAGO SUBURBAN (COOK CO.) (ARLINGTON HEIGHTS P.O.) HERALD (DMA) 938,653 832,367 12.77%
CT GREENWICH (FAIRFIELD CO.) TIME (DMA) 114,365 102,830 11.22 %
UT SALT LAKE CITY (SALT LAKE CO.) THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE (DMA) 712,034 648,432 9.81%
NY SCHENECTADY (SCHENECTADY CO.) GAZETTE (DMA) 213,841 198,809 7.56%
LA NEW ORLEANS (ORLEANS PARISH) TIMES-PICAYUNE (DMA) 912,735 848,961 7.51%
PA ALLENTOWN (LEHIGH CO.) MORNING CALL (DMA) 494,296 461,725 7.05%
PA WILKES-BARRE (LUZERNE CO.) TIMES LEADER (DMA) 201,192 190,096 5.84%
OK TULSA (TULSA CO.) WORLD (DMA) 552,996 528,559 4.62%
CT FAIRFIELD CO. (BRIDGEPORT P.O.) POST (DMA) 288,758 276,151 4.57%
FL NAPLES (COLLIER CO.) DAILY NEWS (DMA) 271,095 259,377 4.52%
NY LONG ISLAND (MELVILLE P.O.) NEWSDAY (DMA) 2,532,592 2,433,716 4.06%
WA SEATTLE (KING CO.) TIMES (DMA) 1,648,077 1,596,594 3.22 %
FL MIAMI (MIAMI-DADE CO.) THE MIAMI HERALD (DMA) 1,278,003 1,238,849 3.16%
CA SAN JOSE (SANTA CLARA CO.) MERCURY NEWS (DMA) 2,583,001 2,504,822 3.12%
NJ NEPTUNE (MONMOUTH CO.) ASBURY PARK PRESS (DMA) 896,515 869,579 3.10%
MI GRAND RAPIDS (KENT CO.) PRESS (DMA) 751,030 733,405 2.40%
NY WESTCHESTER CO. (WHITE PLAINS P.O.) JOURNAL NEWS (DMA) 834,773 819,704 1.84%
FL BRADENTON (MANATEE CO.) HERALD (DMA) 209,633 206,324 1.60%
CA LOS ANGELES (LOS ANGELES CO.) TIMES (DMA) 4,785,590 4,715,225 1.49%
TX DALLAS (DALLAS CO.) MORNING NEWS (DMA) 2,114,021 2,086,993 1.30%
PA SCRANTON (LACKAWANNA CO.) TIMES-TRIBUNE (DMA) 219,811 218,155 0.76%
SC SPARTANBURG (SPARTANBURG CO.) HERALD-JOURNAL (DMA) 261,027 259,881 0.44%
CA SAN DIEGO (SAN DIEGO CO.) UNION-TRIBUNE (DMA) 1,317,932 1,313,573 0.33%
Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations
In this article:
Most Popular