ABC Releases 2004 Audit Reports for Censured ‘Hoy’

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By: Jennifer Saba

The Audit Bureau of Circulations released audit reports for Tribune’s circ scandal-tainted Hoy for the six-month periods ending March 2004 and September 2004.

For March 2004, ABC found that Hoy’s daily circulation was 44,125 and Sunday circ was 28,464. For the September period, daily circ was 46,784 and Sunday circ was 30,286.

The numbers fall within the range that Hoy anticipated.

ABC also announced today that during the course of Hoy’s September 2003 and March 2004 audits, ABC auditors attempted to verify claims as filed for prior periods. Essentially, the records were incomplete because third-party records were unavailable. As a result, ABC pulled Hoy’s publisher’s statements and all audit reports covering the periods ending March 2000 through September 2002.

Hoy Publisher Digby Solomon Diez said in a statement: “Hoy has said all along that third-party circulation records prior to September 2003 were incomplete, making it difficult to determine the extent of any circulation misstatements. Nonetheless, as a result of Hoy’s own internal investigations we elected to include adjustments for 2002 circulation in our advertiser resolution process.”

The Tribune Company, which owns Hoy, said the newspaper has settled wtih more than 1,000 advertisers, including over 70% of its largest advertisers. Hoy is looking to conclude settlements with the remaining advertisers by June 30.

Last summer, Hoy admitted that its circulation had been inflated by roughly double the number of copies found in the audit reports released today. Hoy is under ABC censure and must undergo two more audits for the March 2005 and September 2005 periods. Following the mandatory cycle, Hoy plans to resume annual audits beginning with the period ending September 2006, according to ABC.

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