Daily News Flub Draws Gibes Circulation numbers adjusted down p.38

By: Joe Nicholson THE NEW YORK Daily News says a clerical error caused it to report circulation gains to the Audit Bureau of Circulations for the six months ended March 31, and it has now determined its circulation was edging downward.
But the correction to its publishers statement figures reported in the ABC Fas-Fax did not prevent sniping from its tabloid rivel, the New York Post, which reported in a news story that Daily News co-publisher Fred Drasner had ""fessed up that his newspaper fudged its circulation numbers.""
Post president and publisher Martin Singerman said in an interview, ""The Daily News submitted erroneous figures. How did that come about? Did they submit them because they were within the acceptable margin of error?"" But Singerman, whose paper is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., stopped short of alleging deliberate fudging, saying only, ""There is serious concern about a misleading statement.""
Les Goodstein, advertising director of the Daily News, said of Singerman's suggestion of impropriety: ""That, plain and simple, is not true. Of course not.""
The Daily News error on weekday circulation was 3,672 too high. Its corrected figure lowered it to 727,089, from 730,761. Its Sunday error was 4,121 too high. The corrected figure was 851,921, compared with 856,042 first reported.
""It was a miscalculation,"" said Goodstein. He declined to identify the staffer responsible but said nobody was disciplined. Despite the belated discovery showing circulation was down, Goodstein said, ""We're having a terrific year. Ad revenues are up more than 10% over last year. Our ad revenue is running at a rate of well over $200 million a year. We have four to five times the revenue they do.""
During the six-month period, Post weekday circulation rose to 432,707, from 428,401, as Sunday circulation jumped to 369,507, from 290,532.
Because the Daily News' error was far short of the 2% threshold, ABC did not send out a variance report to its 3,100 member advertisers, ad agencies and publishers. ""In the case of the Daily News there was a clerical error made in their original numbers filed,"" said an ABC spokeswoman Mary Metzger, referring to publishers statements filed for the April 15 deadline. ""However, the Daily News publishers statement released on May 29 does have the accurate reported figures.""
While faulty figures have been reported before, Metzger said, she called it ""an infrequent occurrence."" She noted that it is in the publishers' best interests to file accurate figures because the follow-up audits are designed to catch mistakes.
Fas-Fax figures are based entirely on numbers supplied by newspapers. ABC is now conducting a routine audit for the Daily News for the 12 months ended last September. It expects to make a public report on the audit in the next several months.
?(Editor & Publisher Web Site: http://www.mediainfo.com) [Caption]
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher June 20, 1998) [Caption]


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here