Despite boosts for titles in New York, America’s leading newspapers largely recorded either flat or declining circulations in the six months to March 31, according to new figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Aided by increased news interest in the city following September 11, papers in the Big Apple performed well: the New York Times saw daily circulation climb 3.8% year-on-year to 1.19 million; the New York Post was up 15.4% to 562,639, a rise the title believes also reflects new editorial leadership; and the New York Daily News increased 2.2% to 733,099.

Elsewhere there was little joy. The nation’s number one paper USA Today suffered a 3.4% drop in daily circulation to 2.21m, while second-placed Wall Street Journal managed only a 0.05% rise to 1.82m. It was a particularly tough six months for the Los Angeles Times, which posted a 5.3% drop – the steepest of any top-ten paper – to 985,798.

According to the Newspaper Association of America, which conducted its own analysis of the results, the average daily circulation of the 820 newspapers in the survey declined 0.6%.

“My suspicion is that we perhaps grabbed a few single-copy readers as a result of the tragedy of 9/11,” commented NAA chief executive John F Sturm, “but my other suspicion is that those gains may have been offset by the economy and its effect on home subscription.”

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff