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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 23, 2008 7:30 AM. The previous post in this blog was Have a great weekend. The next post in this blog is Every stranger's face I see reminds me that I long to be. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Maybe they're counting the canary

The O made its employee buyout program -- long a matter of public knowledge -- official yesterday. Lots of experienced staff will be leaving, but will it be the cream of the crop, as opposed to the dead wood? Time will tell.

An interesting sidelight to this disturbing story are the readership numbers the newspaper now gives for its products:

The Oregonian is the largest daily news outlet in the Northwest, reaching more than 700,000 readers in print every day and more than a million unique viewers through every month.
When last we heard, the paid circulation of the daily O was just over 300,000 and heading steadily downward. How does that translate into more than 700,000 readers? Do they figure that the average copy passes under the eyes of 2.33 people before being trashed or recycled? That number seems high.

Comments (22)

300,000 probably accounts for people who have regular delivery subscriptions. Then they must add in all the papers sold from corner boxes and ones sold out of convenient stores and coffee shops.

I'm sure that's not right. Total paid circulation is around 300,000 -- that includes newsstands, etc.

Readership numbers are extrapolated from the thought that more than one person reads each copy of the paper. This is standard practice.

For what it's worth, I once lived in a household where a daily Oregonian would pass through four sets of hands before landing in the recycling bin.

This is another one of those numbers that's basically plucked out of thin air. Like Tri-Met ridership numbers. It's certainly possible that 700,000 people see some part of the Oregonian each day - like when they walk by and glance at the front page at Starbucks. There's no "real" way to measure it.

Sounds about right. Those were the readers-per-copy numbers from a couple years ago:

My ex-wife was in advertising and when they sold newspaper ads the number of people that supposedly read each paper was staggering. I think for the Dallas Morning News or Houston Chronicle (when I was living in Texas) the number was almost 9 people who read each paper. Quite frankly, I'm surprised the Oregonian is saying it's only 2.33. And if I think of all the newspapers I see waiting outside of courtrooms and on the bus or in my office lobby, those are read by more than 5 people each so that makes up for a lot that are ready by one person and recycled.

Circulation numbers have always been newspapers' greatest work of fiction.

If the O could only figure out how to get those extra readers to pay, they wouldn't have to buy out so many PR people.

What's amazing is how Canary droppings blend with the O's printed message.

Cage cleaning thus becomes a scheduled task as visual inspection proves inadequate.

While some home delivered O papers are read by a few or more, mine was read by no one. So while I counted as circulation I guess I would not have been counted as readership? I wish I could offer a good reason as to why it took me till yesterday to cancel. Good economical sense I guess, like the movies I rent and never watch, only to return them late for an additional fee.

I think the most interesting part of the story is the following quote from Publisher Stickel: "Despite this reduction in staff, we will be adequately staffed and will publish outstanding products for our readers and advertisers, in print and online." Really? Then as the steward of this business, why didn't you make this offer some time ago, since all the people who will be leaving apparantly are not necessary to maintain the Oregonian's excellence. If I were Advance Publications, I might be thinking about a separation offer somewhat higher up the chain than the press room.

Most of the best journalists at the O work at the NY Times or the AP

Doing the math is divisive, I think, not a multiplying product. During a 7-day span, the average day's number is probably 100,000 or fewer, issues which are read in some small part -- counting as little as headlines, or comics, or sports, or astrology corner, or obits. Maybe 1-and-1/2 persons see that issue, or 2 persons give 3/4's attention, or 6 persons give 1/4 of their attention. Bottom line: 150,000 'read' it.

That's half of 'circulation,' not double.

Survey for yourself. Ask 10 people, first, "did you see the paper today?" and then, second, "do you normally get it?"
4 will say they "saw" it.
8 will say they usually "get" it.

A few years back, ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation) found out -- an audit!; who knew? -- that papers, in Dallas, Chicago, and beyond, regularly overstate 'circulation' to charge more for ads. Same as broadcasters.

I'm in the PR business and we use a x3 formula to convert circulation to impressions. That's not universal, but pretty standard.

An awful rag is only going to get worse! Greeeeat! Bring back the Journal!!

There's also the distinction between home delivery and paid home delivery. I canceled my subscription to the O about 2 years ago and they kept delivering the paper for about 9 months afterward (without charging me). I don't know if this is an isolated incident, but even the phone solicitors who would call and try to get me to re-subscribe knew that I was getting free delivery.

Dead fish inside the wrap count as readers, too.

The Oregonian goes through four sets of hands in this family, for what its worth.

LCLS 3L, that's standard with a lot of publications (just try to get Entertainment Weekly to stop sending you copies after you've let a subscription lapse), but it's also a great place to get into trouble. Both the Chicago Tribune and the Dallas Morning News were caught up in class-action lawsuits by advertisers because the papers were being delivered to empty lots, apartment complex laundromats, and abandoned houses in the hopes of claiming that circulation was higher than it really was. What's funny was that the Morning News was busted by the Texas Attorney General in the Eighties for similar stunts to jack up its circulation, and the plan then and now was personally endorsed by the CEO of the Morning News parent company.

Now, if you want to figure out where those extra copies are going, start looking to hotels. USA Today has inflated its circulation numbers for years by claiming those free copies left at every hotel door every morning, and a lot of daily newspapers are even more aggressive. I was recently in Tampa for business, and not only did I get a copy of the Tampa Tribune out front whether I liked it or not, but the maids actually brought it inside when they cleaned the room. My wife is allergic to newsprint, and hotel management simply didn't want to understand why we wouldn't want a nice fresh free paper.

Tri-Met is a perfect simile in more ways than just circulation numbers.

"... the Chicago Tribune and the Dallas Morning News were caught up in class-action lawsuits by advertisers ..." -- I can't remember when my memory doesn't work. ... but I thought it was the Chi. Sun Times ... since I thought they were still in business.

"... USA Today has inflated its circulation numbers for years by claiming those free copies left at every hotel ..."

A variation on that is, (you might like this one, Jack), free bundles delivered -- unsolicitied -- to schools and public buildings, and then the 'subscription value' deducted (above the line) from taxes.


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In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
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Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
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Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
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Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
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Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
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The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
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Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
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Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
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Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
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Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
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Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
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Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
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Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
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Keith Richards - Life
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Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
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Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
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Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
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Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
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C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
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William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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