Monday, September 26, 2011
Writing Off Readers
Plain Dealer Circulation Continues Decline
Today’s Plain Dealer carries the legally mandated annual statement of ownership, management and circulation. Total paid and or requested average daily circulation for the period ending September 15, 2011 fell last year below 260,000 to 259,993, or barely half of what it once boasted. This year’s figure represents almost an 11% decline in circulation since March 2009 when its reported circulation was 291,630.
Daily newspaper circulation is of course declining across the country, but as in other arenas, the implications for Greater Cleveland have special impact. Newspapers have traditionally served as a common denominator for the reporting and discussion of community news. The Plain Dealer has had this role almost exclusively since the demise of The Cleveland Press in 1982. Although it often performs the task abysmally, typically by what it fails to report — either fairly or at all — its continued decline as a common springboard for discussion is not healthy for northeast Ohio.
Editorial and publishing decisions made by the Plain Dealer’s parent company, Advance Publications Inc., which also owns the Sun Newspapers suburban area chain, have compounded this misfortune. Advance has effected the virtual journalistic redlining of every municipality in Cuyahoga County where the African Americans comprise forty percent or more.
The only literal exception to this redlining may be Richmond Heights, where, incredibly, this little blog has arguably done more independent, and accurate, reporting of key issues there in the past six months than either the Plain Dealer or the Sun Messenger.