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Monday through Friday average circulation numbers for the San Diego Union-Tribune have dropped 9.53 percent for the six months ending March 2009 from the same period the year before, according to numbers just released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the industry audit group, and reported by Editor & Publisher. U-T daily circ was 261,253, enough to keep it at the very bottom of the list of the nation's top 25 biggest papers. Some of those papers did better, some worse, but all except the Wall Street Journal, up .61, fell. The L.A. Times dropped 6.55 percent. The San Francisco Chronicle fell 15.72 percent. The New York Times dropped 3.55 percent. Editor and Publisher reports the declines are now materializing at a "record rate." Sunday U-T numbers were down about 7.5 percent.

The U-T numbers:

Daily circulation, this period: 261,253 Last year's period: 288,785

Sunday circulation, this period: 330,848 Last year's period: 355,537

Source: ABC

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Comments

SurfPuppy619 May 3, 2009 @ 8:29 p.m.

This is for "Hellcat Copley" and that rude phake photo of Karin Winner: I know someone who once went on a double-date with her years ago.

By monaghan

Unless you have pics it didn't happen.

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Visduh April 27, 2009 @ 11:01 a.m.

Will these precipitous circulation declines ever stop? Or will the retrenching by the publishers, which results in a skinnier and weaker product, keep driving readers away?

There is something more than just a demographic shift that is cutting into newspaper readership. Whatever it is doesn't portend well for an informed public. We need to be reading more, not fewer newspapers and other sources, than ever before.

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fliptalk April 27, 2009 @ 11:33 a.m.

I think the industry will get back up. All the people talk about is the negative nowadays. It's EASY to get caught up in it. Whether you are trying to make yourself feel good by looking at others bad news...you know? So many people respond to negativity rather than taking the responsibility of creating what they want.

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SurfPuppy619 April 27, 2009 @ 1:32 p.m.

The UT is not going back up or recovering.

It is a train wreck-of it's own doing- and the only place to go is down. At least until new ownershipo and management is in place.

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WhatGoesAround April 27, 2009 @ 2:54 p.m.

I agree with SurfPuppy that the U-T is a train wreck of its own doing. Can the anticipated new owners/managers turn it around? If they are people with genuine integrity who value honesty and competency in others and who can detect and confront b.s. head on for the health of the organization, then yes, maybe. I am not holding out hope.

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Burbclaver April 27, 2009 @ 5:25 p.m.

Newspapers are in terminal decline. Why condemn all those trees and spend all that energy on printing and distribution when they can be put online and updated instantly? The Huffington Post is one of the leaders in the way it's heading. I get headlines online then read the weekly news mags for the in-depth story. I don't have time to read a daily newspaper. The news content in the Tribune is so minimal anyway. It is mostly ads.

Unfortunately, people expect online news to be free, so I don't know how we'll pay the news gatherers. Research, fact checking, and editing are also suffering. We could end up with "news" from bloggers as the only media. They will tell us what is happening outside of their window, where they went for dinner, and how they dislike immigrants. Bloggers are the worst thing that happened to the information age. Just because you can fill the Internet with your self-indulgent rambling doesn't mean you should. Buy a diary and write it in that so your relations can throw it out with the rest of your trash when you die.

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Ponzi April 27, 2009 @ 9:34 p.m.

In the future, most of the news will be furnished by the local TV new teams. The smart TV stations will also own radio in thier local markets, like KFMB does. In the past, people ha to wait until the TV news came on, but now their websites are updated with local news throughout the day.

Many people use multiple sources to get local news. Radio station web sites, TV web sites and major news papers. Much of the investigative reporting is now done by TV stations. Obviously the TV stations alreayd have the assets to send helicopters, vans and gather video that can be instantly placed on their websites.

The newspaper monopolies are gone and will never return. The materials, machinery, and the entire process and cost structure doesn't pencil out anymore. There's no way the will ever be able to demand the ad revenue to support it.

What may happen is a massive consolidation of dozens of major locals under one large company. Something like Clear Channel is to radio.

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sanman April 29, 2009 @ 8:38 a.m.

TV news is comprised of 30-second sound bites and some video. TV news staffs are very small and, yes, they do have some investigative reporting but never to the scale of what newspapers do because they don't have the staff for it. Unfortunately, there are many in the general public that don't realize how little real news is covered on local TV nor how small the TV news staffs really are. Local radio news is usually taken from the local paper because they have even smaller news staffs.

The future new owners of the U-T are venture capitalists not newspaper people. Everything will be based on profit percentages and not on news value. I don't think that the product will be better and we are in big trouble if we have to rely on TV news and bloggers for factual news content.

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Visduh April 29, 2009 @ 9:09 a.m.

My point here is not to beat up on Burbclaver, but he or she proves my point about needing more news. "I don't have time to read a daily newspaper" says it all. People find time to do things they really want to do. Then Burb says that the news content in "the Tribune" (meaning the U-T I suppose) is minimal and that it is mostly ads.

Take a look at the present-day U-T, and you will see far too few ads. Oh, there was a time, but the advertisers have been massively abandoning the dailies as their readership and circulation declined. Once upon a time, all the major supermarkets flocked into the food section on food day in the daily paper. Here in SD county, a few years back, nearly all of them abandoned the U-T in favor of direct mail. Now I get a packet of supermarket ads every Monday in the mail. The ads for Von's, Albertson's, Ralphs, Food for Less, Sprouts and Frazier Farms are all in there together. Then on Tuesday, the Pennysaver carries the ad for Stater Brothers. All of those ads are multicolored preprinted supplements. The only significant food advertiser that is still in the U-T, and for how much longer is debatable, is Henry's. That loss of ad revenue must have been a major blow to a paper such as the U-T, and very spelled the beginning of the decline as an advertising medium.

I fear that all who say newspapers are in terminal decline may be correct. Bloggers are not going to fill the gap. Did the U-T bring this upon itself? Well, Don sees it that way, with its politicized coverage (and non-coverage) of local politics. Maybe all these papers have let their political orientation so sway their coverage of news that they've made skeptics of us all. But so have the weekly news mags, Burb.

If you want real news, as opposed to opinion thinly disguised as news, stay far away from Newsweek or Time. The TV networks are generally no better.

That's why I think this extinction of newspapers is sad. Many were, from time to time, capable of reporting news, AKA truth, rather than opinion.

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monaghan April 30, 2009 @ 7:04 p.m.

This is for "Hellcat Copley" and that rude phake photo of Karin Winner: I know someone who once went on a double-date with her years ago.

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