The Starting Line – 17,000 Readers Said “No More”: UT-San Diego Sunday Circulation Plunges (UPDATED)

Since taking over ownership of San Diego’s daily newspaper last year Publisher Doug Manchester and CEO John Lynch have responded to criticisms that their style of far right advocacy might be alienating readers by claiming that readership was rising.

Sorry guys. The people don’t love your act.  The Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) numbers for the year ending this last September are in.  Last years’ Sunday circulation beats this year’s Sunday circulation by 17,051 copies, including digital and ‘branded’ editions.

Sunday editions in the newspaper world are critical barometers.  Sunday is the day that advertisers crave. Readers typically have more time to peruse the paper and copies of the paper are more likely to be shared.  So losing readership on a Sunday is a big deal.

I can’t tell you what the daily numbers are. The folks at ABC want to get paid for their full report, and the SD-UT didn’t crack the top 25 list for circulation. UPDATE: Dylan Smith at sent me the full ABC reports for 2011/2012. We’re talking over 100 pages of data here. Two things jump out at me on first bounce.

1) My take on their digital readership is probably waaay off. So I’m sending that paragraph into the dustbin of history. I. Was. Wrong.

2) Daily readership averages are down even more than Sunday’s numbers. 2011- 204,679   2012-182,054.

There’s a lot of numbers to crunch here but, I’ll stand by my premise that readership is down.  ABC slices and dices the data in lots of ways so papers can better use it to convince advertisers to spend money. My numbers come from the same line in each year’s reports. I’ll do some more digging and update more in a future column.

I’m sure that the Dougchester and his Mission Valley minions will be in full spin mode on these numbers shortly.  No doubt we’ll be told newspaper sales are actually UP by some absurd percentage created by a public relations firm somewhere. Or something.

Carl DeMaio’s Problem with Women

If you believe the noise coming from Carl DeMaio’s campaign and Super-Pac supporters, the race for Mayor of San Diego has boiled down to one issue: Bob Filner is a grouch. Or a slacker. Or a misogynist. In other words, he’s such a horrible human being that San Diegans would be doomed to drama and nothing else should Bob Filner take the top job in our fair city.

Can you imagine? Hizzoner Filner sitting down with friends over brunch and publicly discussing who to block on Facebook and Twitter.  Cackling gleefully as he turns the tables on supporters, saying he no longer requires their services.  Refusing access to the media based on a simple imperative; give me favorable coverage or else.  Going to a policeman’s funeral and acting disrespectful; leaving early so he can meeting with business insiders.

Oh wait! Aren’t those all things that Carl DeMaio has been accused of doing?

The campaign for Mayor has entered its final and darkest hours.  Both of our finalists in the Mayoral contest have somehow morphed into monsters that probably eat Baby Pandas (Roasted with garlic and served with a nice Cote du Rhone, no doubt).

I could decry the lack of issues being discussed in this campaign for the future of America’s Finest (Plantation) City, but I’m sure there are focus groups out there somewhere in consultantland that are showing actual voter ‘movement’ when they are exposed to spittle and foam.

No doubt that’s what DeMaio’s people were thinking yesterday when they unleashed District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. Or maybe they were thinking this event would help them secure the woman’s vote in San Diego.  From today’s UT-San Diego:

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis backed City Councilman Carl DeMaio for San Diego mayor Monday, providing the fellow Republican with a late endorsement from a former rival with a week to go in the campaign.

 Dumanis also used the announcement as an opportunity to bash DeMaio’s mayoral opponent, Democratic Rep. Bob Filner, for what she described as behavior that is “disruptive, disrespectful and demeaning, especially to women.”

 Dumanis finished a distant fourth in the June mayoral primary that saw DeMaio and Filner advance to the Nov. 6 runoff. Her backing of DeMaio isn’t considered a major revelation given her previous attacks on Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who finished third in the primary, that many political watchers saw as an attempt to bolster DeMaio’s candidacy once polls showed she had little chance of winning.

Carl DeMaio started his road to elected office hanging out with Newt Gingrich and Heritage Foundation types.  You know, the kind of people who tell women to stop whining when they complain about politicians dumb enough to deflect the seriousness of the issue of rape. From Slate:

Of all the options available to Republicans to avoid sounding like heartless misogynists, from giving up their enthusiasm for compulsory childbirth to at least learning to shut up when asked about rape, the least effective seems like it would be to scold women for valuing their basic human rights. But, as is customary these days, conservatives are choosing sadism over political good sense, and blaming women for not being willing to ignore misogyny instead of blaming politicians for expressing it. Newt Gingrich kicked off this round of fun on Sunday’s This Week, defending Richard Mourdock for saying forced impregnation through rape is a “gift from God” by telling people to “get over it.”

judi curry

Bob Filner started his road to elected office with the Freedom Riders in the Civil Rights movement. From an article describing a Womans’ Fundraiser for Filner by local activist (and SDFP Contributor) Judi Curry:

Filner hit on so many issues that pertain to his plan when elected: women’s rights; civil rights; homelessness; the environment; bringing back the cultural values of San Diegans; the needed equality of gay rights.

 The power in that room was overwhelming. So many of the “big guns (gunnettes?) of the San Diego female world were in attendance:

 Congresswoman Susan Davis, Senator Christine Kehoe,Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins, Assemblymember Mary Salas,Port Commissioner Ann Moore, Port Commissioner Lee Burdick,School Board Member Shelia Jackson, Community College Board Member Maria Nieto Senour, Evonne Schulze, Dr. Shirley Weber, Donna Frye , Susan Atkins, Livia Borak, Barbara Bry, Mary Buckheit, Francine Busby, Candace Carroll, OB Peoples CEO Nancy Cassady, Norma Cazares, Norma Damashek, Malinda Dickinson, Barbara Filner, Chris Frahm, Lucy Goldman, San Diego Labor Council head Lorena Gonzalez, Nancy Haley, Gloria Johnson, Meg Mandy, Micah Mitrosky, Pamela Morgan, Olivia Puentes-Reynolds, Heather Rosin, Mary Stockton, Nikki Symmington, EHC Head Diane Takvorian, Susan Tinsky, Adrienne Vargas, Anne Wilson, Roz Winstead and this is only a partial listing.

At this point the issues in this campaign are so muddled as to be nearly worthless. Candidates were against stuff before they were for it. Or maybe it was for stuff before they were against it.  DeMaio’s been tacking to the center so fast that I wouldn’t be surprised to see a TV commercial with him hugging a union member.

So maybe the campaign consultants are right.  Character does matter.  And life experiences shape character.

For me, the choice is obvious.

 The Grey Lady Features Carl DeMaio, the Anti Gay Gay Candidate

 Today’s New York Times has a profile of Councilman Carl Demaio’s campaign that could end up making San Diego the second-largest city in the country to elect an openly gay mayor, and largest to elect a gay Republican.  As with all things DeMaio, there is a “but”….

Yet, perhaps no group has opposed Mr. DeMaio as loudly as this city’s sizable gay and lesbian population.

 Angered by his reticence on gay issues and his acceptance of campaign donations from backers of Proposition 8, California’s 2008 ban on same-sex marriage, parts of the crowd booed Mr. DeMaio at a mayoral debate at the gay and lesbian community center here. He was booed again as he walked hand in hand with his partner in this year’s gay pride parade.

 And many gay and lesbian leaders here have lined up behind Bob Filner, 70, a Democratic congressman and Mr. DeMaio’s opponent in the Nov. 6 election.  “For Carl DeMaio to be elected mayor would not be a victory for gay and lesbian people,” said Linda Perine, a longtime lesbian organizer. “It would be a defeat.”

 The article repeats DeMaio’s claim that only a small minority of gay voters, namely those with ties to organized labor, are so vocally opposed to him.

 A Reader from Minnesota Chimes in …

Todd Kolod happened to see UT-San Diego cartoonist Steve Breen’s editorial cartoon last week.  I personally gagged when I saw it and several local readers emailed me to question whether Breen’s take on Bob Filner was either racist or overly stereotypical of Jews.  I initially dismissed these reactions, figuring that the UT-San Diego’s editorial page is so disgusting so much of the time it wasn’t worth a mention:

Todd Kolod: I live in St. PaulMinnesota.  I don’t know much about your mayor’s race.  I happened to see a cartoon on the Facebook page of the Republican Party of San Diego County.  I found it offensive.  In the cartoon, Filner looks to be African American…and he is compared to scary villain’s like a “zombie” and a “witch.”  What’s your take?

My take: It’s a shame that we’ve become so accustomed to this kind of right wing drivel that we take it in stride.  For some of us, we’re just happy that they’re not using live ammo anymore.

Tweet of the Day:

“Next up on Fox News: Are gays or climate change responsible for these horrible storms? We’ll ask 3 Bible experts what they think.”

— Top Conservative Cat (@TeaPartyCat) October 30, 2012

 On This Day: In 1938 Orson Welles’ “The War of the Worlds” aired on CBS radio. The belief that the realistic radio dramatization was a live news event about a Martian invasion caused panic among listeners. In 1975 The New York Daily News ran the headline “Ford to City: Drop Dead.” The headline came a day after U.S. President Gerald R. Ford said he would veto any proposed federal bailout of New York City.  In 1988 Kurt Cobain smashed his very first guitar.

Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Coronado (1st St. & B Ave., Ferry Landing) 2:30 – 6 pm, Escondido  (Grand Ave. btw Juniper & Kalmia St.) 2:30 – 6:00 pm , Mira Mesa  (Mira Mesa High School 10510 Reagan Rd.) 3–7 pm, Morena District   (1240 West Morena Blvd.) 3 – 7 pm, Otay Ranch – Chula Vista (2015 Birch Rd. and Eastlake Blvd.) 4 –8 pm, Pacific Beach  (Bayard & Garnet) 2 – 6:30pm, UCSD/La Jolla (UCSD Campus, Town Square at Gilman/Meyers) 10 am – 2 pm (Sept. 25 through mid-June; closed for winter, spring and summer breaks)

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Doug Porter

Doug Porter was active in the early days of the alternative press in San Diego, contributing to the OB Liberator, the print version of the OB Rag, the San Diego Door, and the San Diego Street Journal. He went on to have a 35 year career in the Hospitality business and decided to go back into raising hell when he retired. He's won awards for 'Daily Reporting and Writing: Opinion/Editorial' from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Doug is a cancer survivor (sans vocal chords) and lives in North Park.
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  1. avatar says

    On the anti-Filner cartoon, I was upset, mailed a bunch of friends in the media about it, but perhaps Doug is right that San Diegans are just glad there’s no live ammo, as I didn’t get one response back.

  2. avatarDavid Abramson says

    Great article Doug. Thanks for helping to expose the Manchester Empire. People are waking up to media BS and he’s made it very clear his intentions are not to give people unbiased news.

    Thanks for reporting real news,