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Graph: weekday newspaper circulation since 1990

The Awl has graphed out the newspaper circulation rates for the major papers going back to 1990. The Wall Street Journal has gained; most other papers have ridden a downward roller-coaster; The L.A. Times has been in an horrifying free fall.

From their blog post:

Every six months, the Audit Bureau of Circulations releases data about newspapers and how many people subscribe to them. And then everyone writes a story about how some newspapers declined some amount over the year previous. Well, that’s no way to look at data! It’s confusingâ??and it obscures larger trends. So we’ve taken chunks of data for the major newspapers, going back to 1990, and graphed it, so you can see what’s actually happened to newspaper circulation. (We excluded USA Today, because we don’t care about it. If you’re in a hotel? You’re reading it now. That’s nice.)

Check out the graph.

Community Comments

#1 Lucas Turnbloom
@ 11:10 am

You weren’t kidding about the LA Times. Wow.

#2 Jeff Stanson
@ 5:59 am

We’ve discussed so many reasons here why newspapers have faced decline over the past few years, but in the plainest and simplest terms, newspapers no longer were creating the kind of content large numbers of people wanted to buy. In so many cases I have studied, editorial staffs (1) focused more on creating content for themselves than for creating content for a mass audience, and (2) narrowed their focus to pander to certain readers rather than seeking to offer some content for all readers. The staffs never did foresee or have yet to understand that as other mediums have beaten the newspaper on timeliness, the staffs were busy creating their own irrelevance in terms of content.

#3 Frank Zieglar
@ 1:24 am

I want to see a graph that goes further back than that.

I live in San Antonio, Tx. When I was a kid we had three newspapers. Then two newspapers. This was way before the internet. Then one paper. Still before the internet.

The internet is only the latest contributor to the demise of newspaper. It started decades earlier.

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