Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Newspapers Lose Business to the Internet, Suffer from Crisis

Although newspapers were in high demand the morning after Election Day, newspaper readership, which has been steadily declining since the advent of the Internet, has reached an all-time low in the face of the nation’s economic situation.

The Los Angeles Times printed over 300,000 extra copies as readers stood in line through the following Monday, Nov. 10. Likewise, The New York Times printed 225,000 extra copies, The Washington Post sold 350,000 special edition issues and The Chicago Tribune required an extra 220,000 copies.

“The Times and many newspapers across the country have experienced unprecedented demand for their Nov. 5 election results coverage editions,” said Nancy Sullivan, the Executive Director of Communications of The Los Angeles Times.

The surge in demand, however, was purely a product of Election Day’s historic results.

The Audit Bureau of Circulations reported last week that business day circulation of the nation’s assessed newspapers fell 2.6 percent in the past six months. The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) reports that newsprint consumption of all daily U.S. newspapers has slowly declined from 675,000 tons in 2003 to 450,000 in 2008, with 15.7 percent of the total decline occurring within the past year.

On the other hand, NAA also reports that total Web readership of newspapers has increased from 63.5 million hits in December 2007 to 69.3 in August 2008, a 15.8 percent increase.

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