New FAS-FAX: Steep Decline at ‘NYT’ While ‘WSJ’ Gains

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By: Jennifer Saba

Print circulation continues on its steep downward slide, the Audit Bureau of Circulations revealed this morning in releasing the latest numbers for some of the country’s largest dailies in the six-month period ending March 31, 2008. When a full analysis appears it is expected to find, according to sources, the biggest dip yet, about 3.5% daily and 4.5 for Sunday.

The following circulation compares the new data to the same period a year ago. Daily circulation is the Monday-through-Friday average.

— The New York Times lost more than 150,000 copies on Sunday. Circulation on that day fell a whopping 9.2% to 1,476,400. The paper’s daily circulation declined 3.8% to 1,077,256.

According to New York Times spokeswoman Diane McNulty, the company had budgeted for the declines in Sunday and daily circulation. Two-thirds of the Sunday loss stemmed from the elimination of bonus days and third-party bulk copies. Also: the paper had a single copy and home delivery price increase in July. The paper also focused on growing “highly profitable circulation,” she noted.

— At The Washington Post, daily circulation decreased 3.5% to 673,180 and Sunday dropped 4.3% to 890,163.

— Meanwhile, daily circulation at The Wall Street Journal grew a fraction of a percent, up 0.3% to 2,069,463 copies. At USA Today, circulation inched up 0.27%* to 2,284,219. (Correction: the original version of this story said USA Today’s daily circulation was up 2.7%.)

— The New York Post lost over 3% daily and more than 8% on Sunday.

— Daily circulation at The Orange County Register plunged 11.9% to 250,724 and Sunday fell 5.3% to 311,982.

— In Los Angeles, the Times lost more than 40,000 daily copies. Daily circulation there was down 5.1% to 773,884. Sunday declined 6.0% to 1,101,981.

— The San Francisco Chronicle reported that daily circulation dropped 4.2% to 370,345, while Sunday dropped 3.0% to 424,603.

— The Boston Globe’s daily circulation fell 8.3% to 350,605. Sunday declined 6.4% to 525,959.

— The Miami Herald reported daily circulation lost more than 11% with 240,223 copies while Sunday dropped 9% to 311,245.

— Daily circulation at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution declined 8.5% to 326,907 while Sunday fell 5.0% to 497,149.

— Daily and Sunday circulation at the Chicago Tribune both dropped 4.4% to 541,663 and 898,703, respectively. In a statement released this morning, the paper noted that it increased its readership with its other products like the free Redeye and its Web site.

“We are proud of the fact that in today’s intensely competitive media environment, we have grown both our print and online audiences,” Scott Smith, publisher of the Chicago Tribune, said in a statement.

— Daily circulation at The Indianapolis Star slipped 2.3% to 255,303 while Sunday tumbled more than 8% to 324,349.

— Good news in Baltimore: The Sun made a slight gain in daily circulation, up 0.1% (about 200 copies) to 232,360. Sunday circulation was down slightly 1.2% to 372,970.

— Daily circulation at The St. Louis Post-Dispatch plunged 8.5% Monday-Friday to 255,057. However, the paper managed to grow its Sunday circulation by 1.6% to 414,564.

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