By Doug Porter
Another six month reporting period has passed and the UT-San Diego continues to lose readers, according to an analysis of data from the Alliance for Audited Media by the Reader’s Don Bauder.
How bad was it? On Sundays, the circulation declined by more than 13%, Weekdays declined by 8.5%. The numbers released yesterday include “digital” and “branded” editions. Branded editions for the UT include Enlace, the Spanish language weekly distributed free on weekends, Vida Latina, a Spanish-language entertainment magazine, TV and shopping guide and Enlace Extra, distributed in Tijuana and Mexicali.
As newspaper circulations have plummeted in recent years, the auditing-type people have changed the rules to sweeten the pot for publishers. Paid circulation now includes copies “sold” to non-profits for as little as 1 cent; these groups resell the papers at full price to users of their services (churches are a good example) and pocket the difference.
Here’s the hard data from Bauder’s story at the Reader:
Total average Sunday circulation for the six months ended September 30 was 334,723, down from 381,303 for the six months ended September 30 of last year. Average Monday-Friday circulation was 203,795, down from 222,541 for the six months ended September 31 of 2013 and from 212,746 for the six months ended March 31 of this year.
These data include digital and branded editions. That’s why they appear up from what the U-T reported this month in its annual statement to the United States Postal Service. In that report, the seven-day average annual circulation, including Sunday, for the paper was 182,083, down from 189,822 in 2013. These postal service data relate to the print edition and don’t include digital and branded circulation; they only count papers that were actually distributed, not simply printed.
The Alliance for Audited Media has made changes, and in today’s report does not compare current data with figures from the previous year, as it formerly did. The Alliance recommends that no such comparisons be made. However, I am making comparisons with the six months ended September 30 of last year and the six months ended March 31 of this year, on the ground that whatever changes the Alliance made almost certainly favor the industry.
Newspapers these days downplay talk about circulation, instead favoring “readership,” which is where UT-San Diego finds its “million readers” numbers used in its promotions.
There is no future with print editions of newspapers, but UT-San Diego is hanging in there, waiting for a miracle that won’t be coming. I think they’ve just about given up on their digital edition as an alternative to print, with good reason, as a post at the Knight Digital Media Center at UC Berkeley explains:
To ease the transition for older readers still wedded to the newspaper format, some newspapers also offer a digital edition online. This is an electronic version of the newspaper, which appears in a form similar to the print version and can be downloaded from the newspaper’s website.
But there is little evidence that such digital editions are very popular with readers, and critics say they are transplanting a print format into a medium that demands a very different product.
Here’s the front page for today’s UT-San Diego online (there is more content if you scroll down the page online):
Here’s the front page for today US News from the Guardian, a news organization that taken its conversion to digital seriously, and has now surpassed the New York Times in terms of total unique monthly desktop visitors. See? There actual news stories.
Which one would you rather read?
Bad News for TV News
I simply can’t watch TV news these days. The bombardment of campaign ads is too much even for politics junkie like me. (And then there’s the TV station begging people to vote for the “hottest” of its female on-air employees. Ugh.)
I’m not the only one feeling this way according to Capital Weekly:
Californians’ reliance on TV for their political news is declining, while an increasing number of people are using the Internet for political coverage, according to a report from the Public Policy Institute of California.
In 2007, nearly half of Californians — some 47 percent — relied on television for political coverage; today, it is 38 percent. Of those who go to television, nearly half rely on cable TV, according to the PPIC report, which included the findings of earlier statewide surveys.
During 2007, overall about 17 percent of Californians used the Internet for political news. That level has increased steadily over the past seven years, and today it has more than doubled to 32 percent. In 2000, only 6 percent relied on the Internet for political coverage.
The First Word Ever on the Internet
Thanks to the UCLA Alumni History page for this bit of trivia:
Inauspicious, perhaps, but then an infant’s first word generally is. Besides, no one on Professor Leonard Kleinrock’s 40-person team suspected that they were starting a revolution of global proportions on Oct. 29, 1969.
That was the day Kleinrock and a student assistant, Charley Kline ’70, M.S. ’71, Ph.D. ’80 sent the first “host-to-host” message over ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), the precursor to today’s Internet.
Programmers at UCLA — officially the first node on the network — were attempting to logon to the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) Host. The UCLA team was attempting to send the message “log” over the system to SRI. The first two letters made it, but the connection crashed before the “g” arrived. The second attempt at logging on worked.
Shortly thereafter, the first spam arrived. I think.
Peters Going Out with a Bang
Just when you might have thought the race for the 52nd Congressional seat couldn’t get any hotter comes word about a BIG CELEBRITY coming to town this weekend to campaign for incumbent Congressman Scott Peters.
I’m told it won’t be Bill “Big Dog” Clinton, who is stumping in California this week, according to the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Walters.
Meanwhile, Carl DeMaio recycled his endorsement from last spring by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association as news yesterday.
The Mess at the Red Cross
Here’s an example of a news story that deserves much wider dissemination, but will likely get buried unless somebody can figure out a way to work an Ebola victim or Benghazi into the picture.
From ProPublica and NPR:
In 2012 two massive storms pounded the United States, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless, hungry or without power for days and weeks.
Americans did what they so often do after disasters. They sent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Red Cross, confident their money would ease the suffering left behind by Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac. They believed the charity was up to the job.
They were wrong.
The Red Cross botched key elements of its mission after Sandy and Isaac, leaving behind a trail of unmet needs and acrimony, according to an investigation by ProPublica and NPR. The charity’s shortcomings were detailed in confidential reports and internal emails, as well as accounts from current and former disaster relief specialists.
What’s more, Red Cross officials at national headquarters in Washington, D.C. compounded the charity’s inability to provide relief by “diverting assets for public relations purposes,” as one internal report puts it. Distribution of relief supplies, the report said, was “politically driven.”
Go read the whole damn story. Your blood will boil. I wonder if his kind of crap is behind the reason why former Council President Tony Young left the top Red Cross post in San Diego not long after resigning from elected office to take the job.
Che Cafe Update
UCSD’s Che Cafe isn’t giving up their fight to remain open.
Protesters drummed on paint buckets and cooking pans. They carried homemade signs, some reading “No Eviction: The Che Will Stay.” Another read “DIY or die.” Then they marched from the café to the office of UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla where they delivered a petition to save the CHE Café.
“By hand delivering over 13,000 signatures that have been collected over just a couple of months we hope he begins to see how important the space is,” said Rene Vera, a member of the collective that runs the CHE.
UCSD said the building needs $700,000 in repairs to stay open. A judge ruled in favor of UCSD Oct. 21 after it sued the collective for refusing to vacate the building. The CHE’s attorney, Bryan Pease, said he plans to ask the judge to consider additional evidence and may file an appeal.
Escondido Politics: Who Did What?
If you like your politics unpredictable, look no further than the Escondido mayoral contest.
Democrat Olga Diaz crossed the UFCW’s Mickey Kasparian by voting in favor of allowing a zoning exception for a 99 Cent store in downtown Escondido. And the UFCW hasn’t let her forget.
Meanwhile, two people who’d you’d expect to be gung-ho for incumbent Mayor Sam Abed have crossed the aisle.
From Escondido Dems:
Olga Diaz has gained two endorsements from high-profile conservatives in her effort to become Escondido Mayor: former Escondido Chief of Police Jim Maher and Lyle E. Davis, editor of The Paper.
Maher, of course, has been the center of a controversy over the terms of his “retirement” from the Escondido Police Department. There have been persistent rumors, still unproven, that his departure agreement stipulated that he could not participate in Escondido city politics. This claim has been impossible to prove or disprove as the agreements are confidential personnel matters.
Maher’s endorsement is most likely to affect the race for Mayor by encouraging conservative voters, who would usually choose incumbent Sam Abed, to at least consider a switch to Diaz. Maher is quite popular and has many admirers.
Davis, as editor of The Paper, a free weekly published in San Marcos, has a tradition of conservative endorsements. In the October 16 issue, The Paper endorsed a long list of Republicans, including Escondido Council candidates Ed Gallo and John Masson. Its list of state office endorsements reads like the Republican Party slate.
That said, publisher Lyle Davis just could not justify endorsing Abed. “I cannot in good conscience endorse Mayor Abed,” he writes. “weighing the two candidates the choice becomes an easy one…”
On This Day: 1929 -Wall Street crashed —”Black Tuesday”—throwing the world’s economy into a years-long crisis including an unemployment rate in the U.S. that by 1933 hit nearly 25 percent 1969 – The Supreme Court ordered an immediate end to all school segregation. 1991 – Three members of Pink Floyd were injured in a auto race in Mexico.
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Philly Joe Swendoza says
UT’s problem is not the internet. It’s their habit of delivering yesterday’s news today, giving them plenty of time to spin it their way, bury “bad” news, elevate political hacks, practice plausible deniability, sniff jockstraps, & just generally paint the town yellow. Let us be thankful that Bob Filner was their last smear victim.
Brent E. Beltrán says
David Alvarez’s smear and the smearing of Barrio Logan residents, then the linkage fee then the minimum wage. Their smearing victims continue.
Philly Joe Swendoza says
True, but Filner is down & out. At least these other victims can still fight back.
For most of the first 40 years I lived in San Diego I subscribed or bought at least one (and sometimes both) of the Copley San Diego papers. I let my subscription lapse last year when they no longer provided the option for subscribing for 6 or 12 months. When they went to monthly paying by credit card, I smelled a rat, decided it was a way to increases prices without it being obvious. Also, even though they did not have an editorial cartoon with Papi Dougie’s face on Mount Rushmore, the content was about the equivalent.
What papers get my money now? The Sunday NY Times print edition and the Washington Post digital edition.
Philly Joe Swendoza says
Save your money. Anything worth reading in the UT will be abstracted & reprinted somewhere on the web. Don’t expect much. The Duke of Manchester is less interested in covering the news than covering himself. Citizen Kane he is not.
John Lawrence says
You can watch the Evening Edition of local news on KPBS sans commercials. You can also record the nightly national news from NBC, CBS or ABC and watch it delayed by half an hour. Then you can fast forward through the numerous Peters and DeMaio commercials and other commercials. I can’t stand to watch real time TV because of the commercials, but I don’t mind fast forwarding. It gives you a pretty good idea of what programs are well funded by how many times you have to click a 30 second go ahead.
I think I’ll go ahead and subscribe to the digital edition of The Guardian and the New York Times. They’re worth it.
John Lawrence says
Some of the reasons Burnham wants to convert the U-T from a profit to a non-profit corporation: no Federal corporate income taxes, tax breaks of various kinds such as state tax incentives as well as local tax exemptions.
bob dorn says
TV news is quickly dying, mirroring its viewers’ own natural progression. If you don’t need dick-raising pills, or meds for arthritis, arterial plaque and other illnesses of the aged and aging, you probably don’t watch Scott Pelley and the pretty boy who replaced the fast-fading Diane Sawyer carefully intone the Nightly Snooze (which, by the way, you’ll see hyped on Dead Media, too).
Tell your doctor you’re switching to Colbert and Stewart. He’ll advise you whether you’re ready for the truth.
John Lawrence says
You can pretty much tell the demographic of who’s watching what by the nature of the ads. Based on that the only people watching nightly news are old people. But there’s a lot of profits in drugs for old people so they’ll probably keep the nightly news going regardless of its relevance.