Saturday, May 03, 2008

N.J. circulation roundup: Read 'em, and weep

Several readers have asked for the new circulation figures for all of Gannett's six New Jersey newspapers. These are the Audit Bureau of Circulations data as of March 31, newly analyzed last week by Deutsche Bank.

For comparison: Gannett's overall circulation fell 2.9%, compared to a year before. But remove USA Today, which eked out a 0.3% gain, and overall GCI circulation fell a steeper 4.5%, the investment bank's analysis shows.

The N.J. figures at March 31, with change from a year before, according to DB's report:
  • Asbury Park Press: down 3.4%, to 141,247; Sunday, down 4.4%, to 184,095.
  • Courier News at Bridgewater: down 11.7%, to 30,620; Sunday, down 11.4%, to 30,940.
  • Courier-Post at Cherry Hill: down 4.2%, to 67,258; Sunday, down 5.1%, to 78,706.
  • The Daily Journal at Vineland: down 1.2%, to 17,074. (No Sunday.)
  • Daily Record at Morristown: down 13.1%, to 33,239; Sunday, down 8.6%, to 36,296.
  • Home News Tribune at East Brunswick: down 4.1%, to 48,632; Sunday, down 4.7%, to 54,170.
See related posts, and join the lively debate, here and here. Or leave a note in the comments section, below. Or use this link to e-mail your reply; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

[Image: today's Daily Journal, Newseum]


  1. Jim, can you provide some context? Any idea if the rate of descent is slowing down or speeding up compared to previous years?

    These numbers are sickening.

  2. Deutsche Bank did not say whether the losses are accelerating among these six newspapers. Overall, however, the bank's analysis found that Gannett's 2.9% loss ranked third "best," after No. 1 News Corp. (down 0.1%) and No. 2 E.W. Scripps (down 1.3%).

    For the industry as a whole, DB said: "Circulation declines in the March 2008 ABC reporting period marked a worsening of the trends from the last two years. Industry-wide, daily circulation fell 3.5% (versus -2.5% in the September 2007 period) and Sunday fell 4.3% (versus -3.3% last period)."

  3. Looks like a certain X-Ed who moved to Mtown is working his magic there also. Left behind a dysfunctional paper too. Hand-outs, re-written releases and over-written fluff ain't news kids and readers ain't stupid.

  4. Ahhh yes... the sweet smell of vindication. It took Bob Collins 10 years to build the momentum in NJ circulation that we see now. It won't turn around on a dime. Sorry. No excuses are acceptable. Not the internet. Not time poverty. Not the 'perfect storm' crap which executive like to hide behind. It is the lack of vision and competence of the people who run the company. Collins lost the best and brightest people due to his abrasive and vulgar style of management, and created an environment where the yes men were rewarded and promoted.
    Here’s something I heard once from some management; ‘lower circulation lowers production costs due to less material (newsprint) needs.’ I can’t make this stuff up. How does anyone see lower circulation numbers as a plus? Only Gannett and the bean counters can see a silver lining around a pile of crap. It’s like a brewer saying, if we sell less beer, we’ll save money on cans and bottles. Newsprint is the package, and what’s on it or in it is the product. None of these guys deserve a pass. Hold their feet to the fire.

  5. The current Courier-Post publisher, Walt Lafferty, came to Cherry Hill just over a year ago from Morristown which posted the worst circulation drop of all of the NJ Gannett properties in the recent ABC report. It will be interesting to see if Cherry Hill becomes the leading circulation loser over the next year. It is Very likely with the incompetent loser executive editor in Cherry Hill who came from Nashville along with some of the "others" Lafferty brought with him from Morristown AND many of those he's put into managment roles.

  6. Even the Newark Star-Ledger, which clearly is the dominant paper in New Jersey, is down 7+ percent Monday-Friday. But what's even more intersting is that the Trenton Times is up nearly 3 percent Monday-Friday. That according to ABC.

  7. Asbury Park Press circulation has plummeted from a high of 165,000 daily and 220,000 Sunday. Those figures were reached shortly before Gannett took over. In internal staff meetings last fall, Tom Donovan put up charts showing the decline was gradual until about 5 years ago, when it dropped like a rock. That's when Skip Hidlay took over as executive editor. Coincidence? I think not.

  8. Ray Olewether, are you available? Is Steve (Pulitzer Prize nominee) Geigrich looking? Kind of doubt that anyone who was smart and treated like they were is interested in trying to help Gannett our of their mess. RTC you suck ass.

  9. Ray Olewether was one of the finest executive editors at the Asbury Park Press. Way too good and too moral for Bob Collins "earthy" style. So then we get Skip who couldn't care less about journalism or the love of the business.

  10. "Earthy style". You mean like dirt? Appropriate.

  11. Ray O came to East Brunswick and swiftly killed the spirited, democratic newsroom Dick Hughes had led for so long. (Yes, I know Dick was not perfect, but he was a newsman, through and through). We used to have news meetings where everyone's voice was heard and everyone's opinion was valued. That immediately ended. No discussion, no debate. My way or the highway.

    The rest of the time, all I remember Ray doing was staring blankly at the cuffs of his sleeves and mumbling "So, what's your solution?'' We could have propped a tape recorder up in his chair to do that!

    Maybe by the time HNT got him, Collins had beaten the greatness out of him. Too bad O chased away more than one good news editor during his short tenure on Kennedy Blvd.

  12. One would think by that time Ray O was at the THNT he was just drinking the cool aid to stay alive. From the mother ship to an outcast.

  13. Ray O was abused more than most at Collins hand. Collins (stupid and foul) and Olwether (knowledgable and diplomatic) couldn't have been farther apart in their make-up. If he was shell shocked by the time he got to THNT, I wouldn't be the least surprised. Ray was decent man.

  14. Looks like Morristown's Daily Record also took a pretty big hit. Don't see much insight on THAT. How 'bout it, Daily Record what's up with down numbers? Maybe we can see another NJ paper get merged!

  15. Asbury decline is a direct result of the dynamic D-Bag duo. Since I hate Skippy and Bob I admit I can't be biased. I understand the Internet has taken a toll, but these morons fail to realize is that Ocean and Monmouth counties were for most of the past decades one of the fastest growing areas in the country which should have balanced out the decline. They also targeted young readers failing to realize you can't go five feet in Ocean County without tripping over a senior community. Since they are dweebs they wouldn't know how to attract young readers to begin with, but as they tried they alienated their core readership. Skip's kid liked surfing so we were forced to run a surfing column at the expense of something else. Ever see a surf magazine? It's probably 80%coloror pictures. No one is buying the Press to read about surfing. The stringer wrote often about how he couldn't wait for hurricanene season. Bet the people who had millions of dollarsrs in damage each year due to storms could wait.

  16. Neither Skip or Collins had roots at the shore. They can't understand the demographics or the culture. Local, local, local done by someone who needs a map to find his office? Makes perfect Gannett sense...

  17. You'll get good and bad about anyone. And you will find people at The Press who will say unequivocally that Ray O. ruined their careers out of personal dislike.

    Ray O. was promoted over people with a lot more experience because he was Don Lass' protege and Lass must have figured that having a bass voice made for a great leader.

    These "personal promotions" came before Collins came in.

    Anyone remember The Peter Principle? So many people in a variety of businesses have hit their level of incompetence and can't judge an employee for hire or promotion except on the basis of "I like them."

    Objective critical thinking and evaluating are things of the past.

  18. I got a grant from the federal government for $12,000 in financial aid, see how you can get one also at


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