Many readers have written me to report that the L.A. Times‘s circulation is severely down:
Circulation at Tribune Co. papers will show declines in the next Fas-Fax report, with the most troubling plunge at the Los Angeles Times, Tribune Publishing President Scott Smith confirmed during a conference call with analysts this morning.
Though executives declined to break out individual paper’s Fas-Fax numbers, which are due out in May, Smith acknowledged the Times will drop slightly more than 5.5%.
Smith blamed the decline on the paper’s reliance on telemarketing:
When asked why the paper is experiencing such steep circ losses compared to the competition’s — the Los Angeles Daily News, for example, was flat last period — Smith explained the Times relied too heavily on telemarketing. That, along with the implementation of tighter controls on field sales, contributed to the drop-off.
People writing me have a different theory: that the Times‘s troubles are directly attributable to its pattern of distorting facts to support a leftist perspective. I don’t know whether this is true or not. But what would be the harm in improving the paper’s accuracy?