Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Circulation Down — Again

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:04 pm

Once again, L.A. Times circulation numbers are way down. (Hat tip to L.A. Observed.)

I tend not to focus on circulation numbers, because I’m far more concerned with whether a paper is telling the truth than whether it is a market success. If the paper were reporting tremendous circulation and were still distorting the news the way it does today, it would not be a success in my eyes.

Still, I mention it because some people see importance in such matters — and because there is an arguable connection between a media outlet’s reputation for honesty and its financial success. (Also, if I don’t say anything about the circulation numbers, I’ll start getting e-mails and comments from people asking if I’d heard about them.)

10 Responses to “L.A. Times Circulation Down — Again”

  1. Patterico,

    I was not able to find an e-mail address for you. So I was wondering if you receved the icon linked by my last comment.

    Paul Deignan (eddb27)

  2. Planting your flaws
    On Monday, the Wall Street Journal’s Julia Angwin and Joseph Hallinan put forth one of the more talked about articles of recent note regarding the newspaper industry, and with good reason – it’s representative of a seismic shift in the…

    The Media Drop (d85b52)

  3. A few days ago, I talked to one of the top guys in a company that does phone soliciation for the LA Times (I was a bit surprised to see that he didn’t have horns and a spiked tail).

    I mentioned that he had been blamed for the dropping circulation and he got really pissed. He pointed out that the also does the phone solicitation for the San Francisco Chronicle, and that paper is increasing subscriptions. He also said that the Chronicle has recently replaced the publisher and another top exec (don’t recall who). He suggested that the Times needs something similar.

    Doc Rampage (47be8d)

  4. Just a guess, Rico, but I’d say circulation declines of this magnitude suggest there may have been some shenanigans in the past with the circulation numbers and someone’s trying to slowly, quietly, clean up the mess – without getting hit with a class-action suit from advertisers.

    These numbers are, in six words, unprecedented in the history of journalism.

    I found this comment particularly telling: “These circulation declines are driven by the same issues that impacted our September circulation statement,” said Jeffrey M. Johnson, Los Angeles Times executive vice president and general manager, who will become president, publisher and CEO on June 1. “These include the transition to more targeted sales channels from a heavy reliance on telemarketing and the decision to deliberately reduce certain types of circulation, such as third-party bulk sales.

    “Deliberately reduce certain types of circulation …”??? Uh, wow!

    Sounds like maybe they were channel stuffing and, given what is going on in some other parts of the country with other newspapers circulation lawsuits, this may be a preemptive strike to clean the books.

    slim999 (564c96)

  5. Around the Blogosphere
    Jessica’s Law Michelle Malkin, GOP Bloggers MSM v. Bloggers Captain’s Quarters Print Newspapers on Decline Outside the Beltway, Patterico, GOP… (807fbc)

  6. Pat – You sound just a trifle sensitive.

    Rod Stanton (e6ac83)

  7. LA Times subscription numbers even worse than thought! Readers who actually pay for the paper leaving in… droves!

    Brady Westwater (72f6df)

  8. Sorry! Hit wrong key. News on LA Times circ figures at:

    Brady Westwater (72f6df)

  9. Yes, probably uncooking the books — but what about readers just getting tired of the persistent lefty favoritism? We just posted an entry about Michael Hiltzik’s latest mouth-foamer at but as you know more examples are daily. Despite knowing that it wouldn’t count, 36% of the 2004 LA County presidential vote went to Bush — 954k vs 1,670k Kerry. Assuming the Bush voters skew older and wealthier, let’s say 40% – 45% of LA Times readers voted for Bush. Is it possible that now that they have more and more alternatives, they’re reducing irritation in their lives by ditching the paper? We need a mole in the marketing department of the Times!

    A Senior Administration Official (5c600b)


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