Publications have been required to disclose their circulations to the United States Postal Service since 1960.
Union-Tribune average seven-day print circulation is plunging precipitously. For the year ended October 1, average daily print circulation was only 144,085, down from 164,532 in 2015 and from 189,822 in 2013. This information is critical to advertisers.
On the Sunday before the report was published, U-T Sunday circulation plummeted to 196,049, down from 221,257 in 2015 and 251,318 in 2013.
Since 1960, publications have been required to disclose their circulations to the United States Postal Service. These reports are supposed to be revealed publicly in October. The Union-Tribune printed its report this morning, October 17, on page A-9. The report to postal authorities is more reliable than reports to the Alliance for Audited Media (formerly Audit Bureau of Circulations) which has loosened standards considerably and thus shed reliability.
There are a number of reasons for the U-T's stark drop. Since the paper was taken over by the former Tribune Co. (now called tronc), the paper has been printed in Los Angeles. This has led to late, unreliable deliveries and untimely news coverage. In metro daily newspapers throughout the United States, print circulation has been declining for several years. Some observers believe metro daily papers are dinosaurs, doomed to extinction.
The U-T's news coverage has worsened. During the brief period when the paper was owned by real estate tycoon Douglas Manchester, the editorial slant was far right. Now that it is owned by tronc, and essentially run by the Los Angeles Times, the U-T editorial slant has become middle-of-the-road, except in local issues such as the Chargers convadium vote, for which its slant continues to be pro-corporate welfare, as it was in the Copley and Manchester regimes.