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Long an integral part of daily life in the city, some major newspapers are struggling. With more people turning to the Internet for information, traditional newspapers are redefining their format and function.

While many people depend on newspapers for accurate information and expect non-biased reporting, these are businesses. Owners (individuals or corporations) look at profits. With eroding market share, the sale of a newspaper can present a challenge. Circulation affects advertising rates. Of course, the amount of newspapers given away or sold at discount may not have solid readership even if the numbers beef up circulation.

According to an article in the Washington Post on October 31, 2006, “Nationally, newspaper circulation has been sliding since 1987, and the past six months are no exception. Overall circulation was down 2.8 percent from the comparable period last year. But the pain was felt worse in some cities than in others. The smaller-circulation Miami Herald, for example, was down 9 percent for daily and Sunday, while the New York tabloids—the Post and Daily News—gained.”

L.A. Times Circulation Drop Largest

For the Chicago-based Tribune Company, the dropping circulation of one of its papers, the Los Angeles Times, may have a direct impact on the potential sale of the Tribune Company. The article says that the L.A. Times “lost 8 percent of its daily circulation—the most of any of the nation’s largest newspapers. . . .

“Other Tribune newspapers fared slightly better. Daily circulation at the Chicago Tribune was down 1.7 percent; the Hartford Courant was down 3.9 percent; the Baltimore Sun was down 4.4 percent; and Newsday was down 4.9 percent.”

For comparison, consider the following circulation gains or losses:  “The Washington Post lost 3.3 percent of its daily and 2.6 of its Sunday circulation. . . .The New York Times was down 3.5 percent daily and Sunday. USA Today, the nation’s largest newspaper, lost 1.3 percent.

“In New York, the tabloid wars have been good for the industry. The New York Post’s circulation was up 5 percent, while the Daily News’s rose 1 percent.”

Consider how you get your news. What is the source that you trust most? What is your local paper circulation? How does its current circulation compare to its circulation in 2000 and 1990? Does the paper have an Internet version? If so, what does that cost?

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