With New FAS-FAX, Audit Bureau Rates Some Papers ‘X’

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

For the first time, newspaper circulations in the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ latest FAS-FAX report, released today, are rated X.

They’re rated X not because they are embarrassing or shameful — although there are many circulation results that deserve to be in a plain brown wrapper rather than the traditional dandelion gold of reports from the Schaumburg, Ill.-based Audit Bureau. Instead, X is a brand-new footnote that the bureau has added to the six-month FAS-FAX top-line circulation results. As the report’s legend for the six months ended Sept. 30, 2004 explains, X signifies “Publisher’s Statement Not Included Due To ABC Board Censure.”

Plenty of big papers are rated X. There’s Newsday, which was considered the 9th largest daily in the September 2003 FAS-FAX. The Dallas Morning News, ranked 11th last fall, and the Chicago Sun-Times, ranked 13th, get the taboo rating, too. And all three editions of Tribune Co.’s ambitious national Spanish-language paper Hoy are branded X.

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