Via JVW comes a link to news of the latest circulation woes of American newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times.
Blame the big metro papers — again. The Audit Bureau of Circulations released the spring numbers this morning, revealing more plunges in daily and Sunday circulation.
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The Los Angeles Times lost 4.2% of its weekday circ to 815,723. Sunday was down 4.7% to 1,173,096.
This keeps happening, over and over, and many conservatives will no doubt point to these numbers as further evidence that Big Media is driving away customers with its leftist point of view.
In response, I’ll make the same point I generally make: I hate the bias of Big Media in general and the L.A. Times in particular, but I don’t think it’s that bias that is driving these numbers. Rather, it’s the transformation of how people get their news, due to the revolution of the Web.
However, the two issues are not entirely unrelated. With the Internet comes access to a tremendous diversity of information sources — many far more accurate in their specific niches than the newspapers. More and more people are taking note, and faith in the news media, I think, is cratering as quickly as the circulation numbers, as Big Media’s bias is increasingly put on display.
But correlation does not equal causation, and I still think the shift from newsprint to computer screen is more a technological phenomenon than a fundamental transformation in the basic sources that most citizens turn to for news.
I could be wrong, and trends are ever-changing. But I don’t see this as another moment for blogospheric triumphalism.
Related point: I don’t want to see The Times fail (though if it stays this way, as seems likely, it wouldn’t bother me much). I want to see it get better.