Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tri-City Herald executive editor explains drop in circulation

Ken Robertson, executive editor of the Tri-City Herald, isn't happy with news reports about the decline in newspaper circulation.

... the stories I saw all ignored a couple important factors. Newspapers have been pruning far-flung circulation for several years because it costs too much to deliver and delivers too little revenue to justify the costs...

And the national stories made no attempt to delve into how the sluggish national economy has affected newspaper circulation.

At the Herald, for example, we cut off about 1.5 percent of our circulation — about 600 papers — in the last year because it cost too much to deliver them to areas in the Columbia Basin.

We hated to do it, but it just didn’t make financial sense when gasoline costs have skyrocketed as advertising revenues slumped.

And the numbers at his own paper? Robertson lays out the percentages but not the actual numbers.

Our Sunday circulation slipped 5.7 percent, our daily 7.8 percent. Subtract the 1.5 percent that we cut on purpose, and the erosion is 4.2 percent Sunday and 6.3 percent daily.

But did the Herald lop off the 600 newspapers in the Columbia Basin in the last 6 months? That seems important since Robertson's beef is with news reports about the Audit Bureau of Circulations report on circulation in the last 6 months reporting period.

I'll post the actual numbers for the Tri-City Herald's drop in circulation tomorrow.



Anonymous said...

Ah, the old Newsweek excuse.

We culled all the dead wood so we could have a better product.

I get it. McClatchy is intentionally ridding itself of customers, and is getting ready to start printing the WSJ at their sister paper.

My mistake, times must be great for the old girl!

Oh, how is Newsweek, and while were on the subject Time Magazine doing?

Horribly you say? Fancy that!

Anonymous said...

He is looking for a job creating Obama stimulus job numbers after his paper reaches negative circulation and he finally admits there is a problem.

Anonymous said...

Even by the slim possibility that he's telling the truth, the declines are still monumental. Not matter how you spin it.

Anonymous said...

Of course he is lying through his teeth. Had he not been he would have made a point of saying that they cut the 600 in the past six months and not the past year. It would have been his main selling point.

These cuts in circulation were done long ago all through out the chain.

Anonymous said...

The "Tri-Cycle" Herald is a joke. It takes about five minutes to read and is pretty liberal. It is tough to sell subscribs in a conservative area. Just like all of the other papers, they have too much management and middle management who do nothing all day. Those are the reasons they are losing readers.

Anonymous said...

Anyone that keeps getting 4 when they add 2 plus 2 has got to be boring at an Obama 2012 party.

Anonymous said...

Fire people...product quality declines...circulation revenue people...
Rinse, lather, repeat.

They are in the death spiral seemingly without a plan.