The blog Perfect Duluth Day posted today the News Tribune’s Monday through Saturday circulation numbers, and newspaper publisher Ken Browall explained the recent decline and said the figures only tell part of the story.
The blog posted the DNT’s Statement of Ownership, a document that every newspaper or periodical must file with the U.S. Postal Service. The graph states that circulation at the DNT fell from 38,753 in 2008 to 33,268 in 2009.
Browall said the 14 percent decline in circulation reflects a newspaper decision in January 2008 to reduce the daily circluation area and not a decline in subscriptions, which he said dipped only 3 percent in the last year.
"In January ’08, we made a conscious decision to discontinue delivery in some of the outlying areas and that brought circulation down," Browall said of areas such as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and near the Canadian border. "We are seeing that cycle through."
The graph also showed, however, that circulation was declining before the decision to shrink the circulation area.
Browall said readership is a more important measure than solely print circulation. According to DNT figures, a daily average of 101,000 readers peruse the newspaper’s print edition and Web site, with a Sunday average of about 156,000.
"Readership is the measure that our advertisers use to see if it’s a valuable proposition to advertise with us," Browall said. "You really have to look at the two. That is really significant and growing."