The LA Times today runs an article indicating that the Audit Bureau of Circulation reported that, while all newspapers have suffered a drop in circulation, The Los Angeles Times led the local decline with a 6.5% drop in weekly subscribers and a 7.9% decline in Sunday subscribers. The overall circulation stands at 907,997 weekday readers, in a Southern California market of nearly 22 Million people.
The stated reasons for the decline range from tighter reporting of circulation to not being able to telemarket because of the do-not-call list, to changing demographics and uncertain economic conditions.
What the article omits is the most probable reason. Trust. The public realizes that they don’t get the full unbiased story about events. They get selective reporting that slants the news to reflect the point of view the newspaper wants to present. The Los Angeles Times is the most egregious example.
Also what the article omits is the growth of the blogs and other internet sources where people can easily get the facts about what is really taking place, and where they can get the full story, much of which isn’t reported in the local rag.
The newspapers, especially the Los Angeles Times, are going to have to rebuild trust before they see any significant increases in circulation, no matter how many millions they spend on advertising.