Grim Reading For US Newspapers

05 May 2004

America's newspaper are continuing their long term decline as they lose readers.

Year on-year figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations for 836 daily newspapers show average circulation was 50,827,454 for the six months ended March 31, a 0.1% drop. Sales for 659 Sundays averaged 55,075,444 for same period, representing a 0.9% loss.

"Their readers are dying off faster than they're being replaced. The encouraging thing is that nationally, this time, it wasn't a very big drop," said John Morton of newspaper pollster Morton Research.

Other big big name losers include The Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post which lost 2% of its weekday sales. The figure represents a drop of 24,000 to just over 772,500.

The Post blamed a fall-off in reader interest after the invasion of Iraq. It also thought its website and Express, a free spin-off launched last summer, might be siphoning off readers.

There was, however, good news for some. Figures were up for the Hispanic press serving America's rapidly expanding Latino population. The Miami Herald's Spanish language El Nuevo Herald, L'Opinion in Los Angeles and Hoy out of New York all reported readership gains.

Flagship titles such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today also successfully fought the downward trend.

Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff