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On April 28 of this year, the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the official statistics-keeper on newspaper circulation, reported that the Union-Tribune's Monday-Friday circulation was 288,669 for the first six months of 2008. The U-T told its employees recently that June 2008 daily circulation was 276,829, down from 281,105 In June of 2007. For the week ended July 13, daily circulation was 269,159. But on July 24, when Copley Press announced that it had put itself up for sale, the company stated on its website that the paper's daily circulation "exceeds 300,000." The Associated Press that day reported that the daily circulation was 314,257. These are large variations. A potential buyer -- if one surfaces -- will scrutinize these claims.

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Comments

Don Bauder Aug. 8, 2008 @ 9:46 p.m.

Response to post #1: In my 30 years at Copley, I won only one Ring of Truth award, and that was for the Dominelli/Hoover/Hedgecock saga. I was one of more than 20 who won. I think I was listed last among the recipients. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Aug. 8, 2008 @ 7:20 p.m.

The U-T wouldn't lie! Why it's the Ring Of Truth!

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JohnnyVegas Aug. 8, 2008 @ 8:51 p.m.

Don, has the San Diego population dropped at all during the last 12-18 months???

With the housing fiasco and the cost of living here I would think there might be a net mirgation out of the county that could account for some of the circulation drop.

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Don Bauder Aug. 8, 2008 @ 9:48 p.m.

Response to post #2: County population has been rising about 1 percent in the last couple of years. However, much of that growth has been among ethnic groups that aren't big English language newspaper readers. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 Aug. 9, 2008 @ 2:41 a.m.

It's getting harder and harder to hear the U-Ts land on the sidewalks in our neighborhood every morning. The Sunday paper is downsizing to less than what the Saturday paper size used to be as we blog.

My wife and I were talking yesterday about the old American way of life when families used to read newspapers and kids made reports on daily news stories as class assignments.

With the rapid downsizing of U-T and L.A. Times pages it looks like we'll have to give up on them and take the NYT and USA Today as the last of the age of reading, discussing, learning and thinking about what is going on in the world at the breakfast table.

Actually it's no fun reading about what is happening in America anymore anyway. All we need to do now is wait for Wal-Mart to start selling Soylent Green and then we won't need to think at all anymore, nor will we be allowed to.

Who would have thunk that every politician in Washtington would evolve into Manchurian Candidates? This devolution must have something to do with the stuff that Wal-Mart sells already.

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Don Bauder Aug. 9, 2008 @ 7:36 a.m.

Response to post #5: We drive 10 miles each way every morning to get the NY Times and Wall St. Journal. Yes, we get the Times online, too, and could get the Journal online, but we prefer the full papers. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 Aug. 10, 2008 @ 1:02 a.m.

P.S., The key word I emphasize here is betrayal, and the subject of this blog is the U-T which represents the root cause of betrayal of every citizen and family in San Diego by our politicians, our judges and our business community.

Lee Iacocca asks all of us in his new book “Where Have All the Leaders Gone?”: “Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car.”

So I ask all of you his paramount question “Where the hell is our outrage?”

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Fred Williams Aug. 9, 2008 @ 8:40 a.m.

As incomes fail to keep up with inflation, families are forced to cut non-essentials.

Internet access is seen as an essential nowadays.

The newspaper subscription is not. Especially in light of the fact that you're already getting the same or better information online if you choose.

Other than the tactile tradition of holding the paper in your hands, what is the point of having the costly inconvenient non-searchable printed version that you'll eventually have to haul to the recycling bin?

Okay, sure, when I sprawl on the floor with the Sunday newspaper, the cat just loves to help me by sitting right on the article I'm reading. I admit that's a lot of fun and awfully darn cute. But I can think of other ways to entertain the cat at less expense than a newspaper subscription.

Circulation decline will accellerate with the declining economy and loss of purchasing power by our population.

Again, they know they're paying for something they can otherwise have free. Unless the reason is compelling, or tradition unbreakable, this cannot endure.

As another poster has commented here, the way to make a small fortune in the newspaper business today is to start with a large fortune...

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Don Bauder Aug. 9, 2008 @ 11:07 a.m.

Response to post #7: Not only can you get the same information over the Internet -- you get it 10 hours before it appears in the paper. And often something happens in that 10 hours that makes the paper wrong. The paper is obsolete before it lands on your doorstep. That's why newspapers have to augment their printed edition with online editions. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 Aug. 9, 2008 @ 12:46 p.m.

Response to post #6: I trust you make that 10 mile drive in a hybrid so people in San Diego can use the fuel you save.

The fact is that the U-T Editorial Board, Sempra's Board of Directors and our elected federal, state and local "representatives" all have one thing in common, they all betrayed the people of San Diego.

This is in addition to the fact that American politicians and the Fourth Estate have destroyed the dreams of our Founding Fathers.

Now Bush and the Neocons are turning America into a 3rd world country which is why Bush is in Beijing kowtowing to the communists surrendering and turning China into the new Land of Opportunity while the U.S. Congress has, so far in this new century, become known in future history as the Congress that sold out America along with the Neocons.

The Neocons are some new form of communism and fascism, and Bush has turned them into the New American Chinese Communist Party.

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Don Bauder Aug. 10, 2008 @ 7:53 a.m.

Response to posts #9 and 10: You will read lots of outrage in the Reader. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 Aug. 10, 2008 @ 10:46 a.m.

Response to posts #11:

I appreciate what the Reader is trying to do Don, but THE WAY THE READER IS FIGHTING BACK TODAY IS OBVIOUSLY NOT WORKING because the U-T "Ballot Recommendations" keep winning and San Diego keeps flushing further down the sewer because we have had 3 U-T Bloodsucker Class Puppeticians in a row Golding-Murphy-Sanders, along with an endless supply of corrupt judges to overrule Aguirre every time he champions We The People in court, with no end in sight.

I do find it interesting that the U-T is advising people to read the internet every time the U-T cuts another thing the readers like to read, but there are still more than enough brain-dead Neocons slavishly marching lockstep with the U-T "Ballot Recommendations" voting orders because the Neocon electorate can't think without orders from the U-T, but they do make enough difference to overthrow democracy in San Diego continuously through three mayors now.

The Reader must come out with "Special Editions On San Diego Bloodsuckers" to raise awareness to a higher level until San Diegans start fighting back in much larger, more outraged numbers.

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Russ Lewis Aug. 10, 2008 @ 10:32 p.m.

Is it possible that Anon92107 is really Fumbler with a computer that unaccountably changes "urine," "vomit," and "pantywaste" to "NORC," "neocon," and "bloodsucker"?

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HellcatCopley Aug. 11, 2008 @ 7:12 a.m.

I forget: is the UT slogan "The Ring of Truth"? or is it "Ring Out the Truth"? or maybe "Wring Out the Truth"?

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Don Bauder Aug. 10, 2008 @ 5:25 p.m.

Response to post #13: That's a big order: asking the Reader to turn around the whole corrupt, dysfunctional City. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 Aug. 10, 2008 @ 5:59 p.m.

Response to post #13:

Don, right now Aguirre and Frye are the only people who risk everything fighting back against the U-T Bloodsucker Mob, fighting back heroically as Champions for all citizens and families San Diego.

It's time for the Reader to get serious about whether you really support the best interests of your readers or not by taking the Reader to the next level fighting back as our Founding Fathers intended for the Fourth Estate to do.

Right now, Aguirre and Frye are fighting back all alone with a few nice words from you from time to time instead of your really fighting back to protect your readers at the same level that Aguirre and Frye do constantly at grave risk of their careers that are constantly threatened by the U-T Bloodsuckers.

Time for the Reader to make the right things happen for your readers Don.

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Don Bauder Aug. 10, 2008 @ 9:26 p.m.

Response to post #14: I am one person. I am 72 years of age. I could have retired from the U-T and given up the fight at age 67 and not felt guilty. I had been battling for a long time, waging the war without encouragement from the U-T. If I am carrying on the fight too slowly, please send me an elixir to restore my youth. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 11, 2008 @ 6:42 a.m.

Response to post #117: The Reader isn't holding me back at all. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 Aug. 11, 2008 @ 4:43 a.m.

Response to post #14:

Stop that Don, I know for an absolute fact that 70+ gives us no excuses and we especially do not need an "elixir to restore my youth" because far more of us who made it this far are healthier today than any generation before us.

I am privileged to walk with 80+ year old WWII vets who are incredibly healthy for their age and still ready, willing and able to fight back today, just not as aggressively as they did in WWII when they saved the world.

America’s biggest problem today is corrupt lawyers and judges who overthrow the Rule of Law against We The People. One of the most honorable people I have ever been privileged to know was a judge who was in WWII and a role model for integrity who stated in no uncertain terms that he did everything he could to prevent any of his kids from becoming lawyers, and none did.

So stop complaining about your age and be proud of it, there has never been a better time to be 70, 80, 90 and even older.

Don, the fact is that you fight back today because you are ready, willing and able to do so, it appears that it is just the Reader that holds you back from fighting back for your readers at a much higher level.

It’s time for a Special Reader Edition on San Diego Bloodsuckers.

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Don Bauder Aug. 11, 2008 @ 10:29 a.m.

Response to post #19: I think "Wring Out the Truth" is apt. Funny, in 30 years there, I never heard a staffer come up with that. Congratulations. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 Aug. 11, 2008 @ 12:08 p.m.

Response to post #18:

Thanks for being so honest and forthright Don, I guess that answers Lee Iacocca's question:

"Where the hell is our outrage?"

ANSWER: The U-T Bloodsucker establishment controls San Diego and there is no hope for any effective opposition today since The Greatest Generation was the last generation to evolve.

Except that most tragically so many American Heroes and Patriots kept trying and sacrificed everything for America in Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan and Iraq for the overwhelming majority of We The People who don’t really care anymore.

Honor, integrity, morals and ethics are obsolete values today as the news proves 24/7/365.

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Don Bauder Aug. 11, 2008 @ 2:46 p.m.

Response to post #21: One of the ideas of the local nabobs pondering the purchase of the Union-Tribune is news 24/7 and presumably 365. Best, Don Bauder

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a2zresource Aug. 12, 2008 @ 2:24 p.m.

Regarding the Reader's role in focusing outrage:

Unless I really self-destructed during my high school civics class, I thought the idea of newspapers publishing "to comfort the afflicted and afflict the confortable" was to get We The People motivated into making the changes our communities need to be better places.

Lately, I don't expect much from government anymore because government generally doesn't pay much attention to people who can't dish up millions in contributions or millions of voters on Election Day. Unless it is Tax Day and we've just signed a check, government bureaucrats really don't want to hear from us.

If there is anything I see as empowering We The People in our own communities, it is the examples of my East County and North County neighbors who in the last wildfire complex said screw the evacuations and protected their own homes because government had no resources to do the job.

In the last year or so, I have become a big booster of getting others to learn about Comprehensive Emergency Management, the FEMA Emergency Management Institute independent study certifications in dozens of courses, and preparing our own neighborhoods for emergencies that our local governments have proven unable or incompetent to handle, no matter how much they raise disaster-protection taxes on parcel owners.

If you are a US citizen, then taking any online IS course at FEMA EMI is free. It's also a good way to become an informed stakeholder as a private citizen, providing feedback to your local emergency planning commission on how it will spend your tax dollars. Remember: FEMA says most county-level officials aren't that well informed about emergency planning due to turnover and lack of previous exposure to emergency planning activities.

If there is anyplace that we can have an impact on government decisions and expenditures, it should be here in the matters of public safety and emergency response... anad being able to take care of one's home in a disaster can be a plus...

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Don Bauder Aug. 12, 2008 @ 6:10 p.m.

Response to post #23: Good advice. Sounds like an informative class. Of course, FEMA is government, too. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell Aug. 13, 2008 @ 10:33 p.m.

The employees of Copley Press should purchase the paper, using funds from their pension plan. Maybe the paper would do better under employee ownership. Once the employees remove current management and restore readership, the pension fund could sell the paper to an investor who's capable of running it profitably. There's a report that the parent of The Seattle Times wrote that paper down to a market value of only $10 million. At this point it looks like the U-T is only worth $20 or $30 million at most. Employee ownership may be the only remaining viable alternative.

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a2zresource Aug. 13, 2008 @ 12:54 p.m.

Absolutely FEMA is government, but in a true emergency, We The People need to step up and keep our communities relatively safe and trouble-free, compared to how disorganized things might be a la Katrina.

One of the worst things that can happen in a disaster is to have disaster responders get overwhelmed with well-intentioned but untrained spontaneous volunteers. Ordinary citizens and others who have gotten at least some familiarization training through FEMA EMI, the Red Cross, or some other source can at least help our local governments get reimbursed for disaster costs from the federal government.

It appears that by using untrained fire cleanup contractors who did not meet the requirements of National Incident Management System/Incident Command System (NIMS/ICS) compliance, San Diego could be out million$ in federal disaster reimbursement money.

The laughable part of all this is that earlier, thousands of city employees were potentially caught cheating on FEMA NIMS/ICS exams needed to maintain federal disaster compliance... maybe if they had stopped to actually learn what they were cheated out of, we wouldn't be losing out on the federal disaster reimbursement money now.

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Don Bauder Aug. 13, 2008 @ 3:50 p.m.

Response to post #25: During last year's fire, the mayor and his entourage were more interested in getting good publicity than looking out for public safety. It was a disgusting exhibition. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 14, 2008 @ 7:04 a.m.

Response to post #27: Employee ownership can go awry. Check the deal Sam Zell pulled in taking over Chicago's Tribune Co. The employees could wind up holding the bag. As to valuation of U-T: there is very valuable real estate at the corporate headquarters in La Jolla, including adjacent parking lots and a computer center. There was a rumor recently that the building is in escrow, but we can't pin that down. There is also a rumor employees there have been giving their walking papers; it is true that there are hardly any employees left there, but I can't confirm that there was a recent layoff or buyout. The question, again, is whether the paper has negative cash flow. If so, the valuation is very low. But $20 million to $30 million sounds extremely low. I have confirmed that the group of businesspeople led by Mike McKinnon of KUSI-TV, thinking about buying the U-T, talked with Copley before the company announced it is exploring a sale. This suggests Copley was fishing for a higher bid. I believe this group will wait it out and try to get the paper at a lowball price. Best, Don Bauder

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AnotherEd Aug. 15, 2008 @ 5:42 p.m.

Maybe 20 years ago, Allen H. Neuharth, a founder of USA Today, predicted that metro dailies were doomed; that national or regional papers (New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today) would survive and that community papers should prosper.

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Neal Obermeyer Aug. 15, 2008 @ 8:23 p.m.

Hi Don,

In the story above, when you said "For the week ended July 13, daily circulation was 269,159," was that figure also from the U-T's report to its employees?

Thanks, Neal

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Don Bauder Aug. 15, 2008 @ 9:14 p.m.

Response to posst #29: Neuharth was more prescient than anyone gave him credit for being at the time. Newspapers in small communities are doing reasonably well because they haven't been hit by Craigslist yet and don't have the online competition. There are some exceptions, such as the ailing GateHouse Media, which owns small newspapers. But it purchased them entirely too quickly and is leveraged to the eyeballs. I do think metro dailies have more life left, but their audience is dying off. They have to do better online. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 15, 2008 @ 9:15 p.m.

Response to post #30: Yes, Neal, the figure came from the in-house publication. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas Aug. 16, 2008 @ 3:50 p.m.

The question, again, is whether the paper has negative cash flow. If so, the valuation is very low. But $20 million to $30 million sounds extremely low.

If there is no cash flow, and there is little/no upside or upside is risky at best for improving cash flows, then I don't even see how $20 to $30 million would be worth it.

$30 million is serious cash. Im no media guy so I have no idea what the paper is worth, but I do know how to value a business-any business-based on cash flows and the strength of the cash flows. If the UT has negative cash flow with little upside $30 million is too much. For any busines.

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JohnnyVegas Aug. 16, 2008 @ 3:54 p.m.

BTW-the property. You can easily break the property out based on market values.

SO even if you were to include any property, that is not going to affect the value of the UT itself. Simply break out the property value-which I am sure is not rock bottom in La Jolla.

Don, how many buildings does the UT have in LJ-2?

I think I know where they are located but not sure-what area/street are they on??

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Don Bauder Aug. 16, 2008 @ 4:48 p.m.

Response to post #33: Bottom fishers are known to take companies with negative cash flow, strip them to the bone, operate them for awhile and sell or liquidate for a profit. A bid that low would attract bottom fishers and asset strippers. But the group of local nabobs wants the paper to continue. It would certainly make radical changes and some deep cuts, but the idea would be to make a profit. I see what you mean, though: several knowledgeable business people have told me that if the cash flow is negative, the value is questionable. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 16, 2008 @ 4:55 p.m.

Response to post #34: The address is 7776 Ivanhoe. There are at least two adjoining parking lots. There is a computer center next door. The company may own other property on that block. It's a good location. I still don't know if the company owns Copley Library, or whether it is owned by the James S. Copley Foundation. I don't know whether the company owns the building in which the library is in. Best, Don Bauder

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