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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Monday, October 30, 2006

A Well-Deserved Wake-Up Call, Or A Richly-Deserved Slap In The Face

Good morning editors of newspapers; The clock is ticking, and bloggers are keeping score ...

Editor and Publisher has a story that is making the rounds, and has a lot of newspapers unhappy around the country. They're showing the new circulation numbers for the MSM newspapers, and they aren't looking good.

The Audit Bureau of Circulations FAS-FAX report for the six-month period ending September 2006 released this morning confirmed yet again that major metros are struggling to show growth. The losses are steep while the gains are meager.

This is the fourth consecutive semi-annual report to register a severe drop in daily circulation and -- perhaps more troubling to the industry -- Sunday copies. While the estimated decline 2.8% for daily circulation for all reporting papers may seem negligible, consider that in years past that decrease averaged around 1%. Sunday, considered the industry's bread-and-butter, showed even steeper losses, with a decline of about 3.4%.

Big cities like L.A., Miami, and Boston are feeling the effects of the Internet and the trimming of other-paid circulation. In New York, however, a 5.1% surge for the New York Post allowed it to leapfrog past its rival, the Daily News -- and The Washington Post -- into fifth place in daily circ.

The Los Angeles Times reported that daily circulation fell 8% to 775,766. Sunday dropped 6% to 1,172,005.

The San Francisco Chronicle was down. Daily dropped 5.3% to 373,805 and Sunday fell 7.3% to 432,957.

The New York Times lost 3.5% daily to 1,086,798 and 3.5% on Sunday to 1,623,697. Its sister publication, The Boston Globe, reported decreases in daily circulation, down 6.7% to 386,415 and Sunday, down 9.9% to 587,292.

The Washington Post lost daily circulation, which was down 3.3% to 656,297 while Sunday declined 3.6% to 930,619.

Circulation losses at The Wall Street Journal were average, with daily down 1.9% to 2,043,235. The paper's Weekend Edition, however, saw its circulation fall 6.7% to 1,945,830.

Daily circulation at USA Today slipped 1.3% to 2,269,509.

The Chicago Tribune showed slight declines. Daily dropped 1.7% to 576,132 and Sunday decreased 1.3% to 937,907.

Losses at the Miami Herald were steep. Daily circulation fell 8.8% to 265,583 and Sunday fell 9.1% to 361,846.

While daily circulation stabilized compared to past reporting periods at The Sun in Baltimore, down 4.4% to 236,172, Sunday took a massive hit.

Circulation on that day dropped 9% to 380,701.The Hartford (Conn.) Courant’s daily circ was down 3.9% to 179,066 while Sunday dropped slightly, 1.5% to 264,539.

At The Philadelphia Inquirer, daily fell 7.5% to 330,622 while Sunday declined 4.5% to 682,214.

Daily circulation at its sister pub, The Philadelphia Daily News, dropped 7% to 112,540.

The Star Tribune in Minneapolis reported declines. Daily was down 4.1% to 358,887 while Sunday dropped 6.3% to 596,333.

At the Orlando Sentinel, daily circulation decreased 2.5% to 214,283. Sunday fell 4.2% to 317,226.

Daily circulation at The Arizona Republic declined 2.5% to 397,294 and 2.6% on Sunday to 503,943.

The Plain Dealer in Cleveland showed daily circulation almost flat -- a small victory -- with a decline of 0.6% to 336,939. Sunday was down 2.3% to 446,487.

I know the "fans" of the Strib are celebrating the decline. We're toasting the Arizona Republic's fall, as well. Let's face it, the Internet is a contributing factor to this declaine, and it's showing no signs of changing. The dead tree industry is dying on the vine, and they aren't showing any signs of being able to turn it around. What is interesting (and would be even more interesting) is to see how well the New York Times "Times Select" is going. The Times Select was a way to generate more revenue for the paper by having people pay for the articles they wanted to read, like ones penned by Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich (when he writes for them). The last time I saw those numbers, they were about as bad as the circulation numbers.

The newspapers can't seem to comprehend that people aren't stupid, and they're sick of the bias that drips from these papers on a daily basis. Sure there are people who read the Times (both NY and LA) for various reasons. I read the AZ Republic for it's sports page (despite the fact that the sports media is about as bad as the regular news media), but that's about it. Well, Wednesdays has the Food section which gives me a couple of recipe ideas. But other than that, the Republic doesn't even rate as cage-liner. None of them do.

The future is the Internet. Not only do we--bloggers--utilize Internet-based media (duh!), but we can do more rapid fact-checking, and provide instantaneous back-up of the facts we present, but you don't have to pay for it. If the consumer would like to contribute to the operation of a website, they can. But bloggers don't charge for content--any content. No one has to pay Hot Air for their vlogging (video blogging). No one pays Hugh Hewitt for his timely and expert analysis of the day's events and political landscape.

Blogging, in short, is the answer to the news services that used to dominate the landscape. And we serve in the unofficial role of ombudsman for the media. Their own check-and-balance men can't seem to do the job. Remember that just recently, Byron Calame, NY Times ombudsman admitted that the Times shouldn't have run the SWIFT program story. Uh, yeah thanks Byron. Bloggers only told you this about three months ago when the story broke. But the people at the Times fell in behind Bill Keller, and supported the decision. Now they have second thoughts? And they wonder why their circulation is dropping like a mob informant with cement shoes.

The newspapers have been given plenty of opportunities to change their misguided ways. Some have even given opportunities to bloggers to write for them. Ed Morrissey was given a spot by the WaPo, but it appears to be a one-shot deal for most. And, of course, they tried to adapt to the medium by instituting their own blogs for their online sites. The problem is that the bias remains evident. Michael Hiltzik used to pen a blog for the LA Times, but was relived of his role when he decided to start a fight with Patrick Frey of Patterico's Pontifications, and was nailed when he used phony IDs to comment and berate Mr. Frey. Other MSM bloggers have failed in their endeavors to "steal" some of the thunder the blogosphere produces.

Sorry, but we're better at this sort of rapid-response news reporting, guys. And whereas the MSM denies it's bias, bloggers make no mystery of where they stand. We also have the tendency to report the news, and provide commentary separate from the story itself. We don't inject our bias into the reporting. We provide it only as commentary. They don't. The put it right into the stories. Don't believe us? Do some research, and see how many news outlets--print and TV--have been caught by bloggers of slanting stories or "fibbing" about issues. The list is long and plentiful.

The good news from this story is that people are getting smarter, and moving to the Internet to get their news. They're not necessarily switching from the NY Times to Little Green Footballs or Captain's Quarters, but they are definitely walking away from the dead tree industry.

For bloggers, it appears, at times, to be a a thankless cycle for many, but we do it because no one else will. No one will go through the steps that we do everyday to bring the relevant news to the people. Can the news media say the same thing? They could, but the numbers prove them to be, once again, painfully incorrect.

Publius II


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