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New newspaper circulation figures are out, and they aren’t painting a cheerful face. Could be that some bloggers smirk at the news; we’re not mong them. Newspapers still are the bet single source of information about what’s going on in the world, and we should all be chilled by the idea that declines in newspaper circulation too often means increasing numbers of people are learning about the world around them (and casting votes based on that knowledge) from television. Which, speaking in general, is appalling.

Closest thing to good news here: The rates of decline seem a little smaller than in the last couple of years.

The Sunday Oregonian now has a circulation of 371,386, down 1.2% from a year ago. Weekday circulation is at 309,467, which is .4% down.

The Sunday Seattle Times/Post-Intelligencer combo sits at 420,587, or down .6% from a year ago.

At the Spokane Spokesman-Review, the paper’s blog reports that “daily circulation dropped about 2% and Sunday circulation dropped about 3%.”

ADDITIONALLY Just saw this line, from a Dave Oliveria post at the Spokesman-Review‘s Huckleberries blog: “With our decision to cut staff in the North Idaho news operation, the [Coeur d’Alene] Press becomes the dominant print media in the region. How does that make you feel?”

The concession from the Spokesman side is stunning. And comments from Oliveria’s readers weren’t happy. It’s all worth a read.

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  1. Chuck Butcher Chuck Butcher November 5, 2007

    Bloggers are news cannibals, the papers have the staffs and resources to do the kind of journalism we feed on, we do not. I am religious in linking stories and only using sufficient amounts to tease the reader into going to the source unless I am pulling together several reports into a synthesis, in which case they still are linked.

    Granted a link to WaPo doesn’t buy their paper newspaper, that is something they need to learn to deal with, few of us can afforde multiple paper subscriptions.

  2. Julie Fanselow Julie Fanselow November 6, 2007

    Randy, have you seen any stats on the Statesman?

    Chuck, I must beg to differ about bloggers not having resources to do real journalism. Here in Idaho, several blogs – most notably the former reincarnation of Red State Rebels (my own blog from 2003-2007), IdaBlue, and the MountainGoat Report – have researched stories that the traditional media did not touch. Everyone has access to FEC filings and court documents, and you don’t need to be a trained journalist to use them (though some of us are).

    I know the same is true of bloggers in OR and WA.

    The difference is, most bloggers do their work out of patriotism and a desire for change, which apparently is a better motivator than the paycheck a “real” journalist receives. A precious few of us are paid to blog, but most aren’t. Blogs are thriving because many people prefer passion and a discernible point of view over labored objectivity. I never thought I’d be saying this when I graduated from j-school 25 years ago, but it’s true.

  3. Chuck Butcher Chuck Butcher November 7, 2007

    None of us have national and international resources, otherwise your point is apt. One of my good friends was an Oregon blogger who did the digging – Loaded Oregon – and did it well.

    The absence of a corporate motive from overhead certainly helps as does the lack of profit motive for most of us as far as putting out something that resembles the real world.

    We’re still parasites, despite the few successes of the type you mention. There is the added incentive to journalists of the added readership we can drive to their work when we do responsible linking. Many journalists would be horrified to find what I make out of their work by pulling out what I consider the pertinent facts and putting my thinking in place of theirs, but I’m my boss…

    Randy produces some of the best work available – probably why we’re both here.

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