By: Mark Fitzgerald
AFTER A NEARLY three-year suspension, the Washington Times returned to Audit Bureau of Circulations auditing with an audit showing average paid daily circulation of 93,463 in the six months ended Sept. 30, 1992.
In 1990, the Times voluntarily suspended its audits by ABC, explaining that an audit for the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 1989, was not possible because of the condition of records kept by independent deliverers.
At the time, the newspaper said its internal circulation records were orderly but that records kept by its loosely supervised independent carriers were insufficient for an ABC audit.
Independent carriers handled up to 80% of the paper’s home-delivery circulation, which itself accounted for about two-thirds of total circulation, the newspaper said.
A Times executive in 1990 said the newspaper did not “overly supervise” its independent carriers because of fears the carriers would be considered employees.
Under ABC regulations, newspapers can take the rare step of voluntarily suspending audits when supporting circulation records are missing or too chaotic for auditing.
“While we were confident of our circulation number over the last two years,” Times circulation director Craig Simmers said, “the completion of this audit confirms through an outside firm that our stated circulation number is verifiable and auditable.”
During its audit suspension period, the Times remained a member of ABC.
The September 1992 figures represent the first ABC audited results since those reported for the six-month period ended Sept. 30, 1988. At the time, the Times’ average weekday circulation was 94,017.
The Times reported on Oct. 1, 1991, an unaudited sworn circulation figure of 95,922 for both its weekday and Sunday editions. The paper began its Sunday edition in September 1991.
ABC’s audit found the Sunday paper had an average paid circulation of 73,674.