Dead Trees Timber! Newspaper Circulation Falls Again Louis Hau, 04.28.08, 12:09 PM ET The slide in U.S. newspaper circulation is picking up speed. Daily circulation fell 3.57% from the same period last year for 530 U.S. newspapers reporting a Monday-through-Friday average for the six months ended March 31, according to data released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Among the 601 papers reporting Sunday circulation, circulation dropped 4.59%. Those numbers compare to declines of 2.6% for daily circulation and 3.5% for Sunday circulation during the six months ended Sept. 30. Bucking the trend: Gannett's USA Today, the nation's largest-circulation daily, with average daily circulation of 2,284,219, up 0.27% and The Wall Street Journal, the second-largest daily, which said daily circulation inched up 0.35% to 2,069,463. The Journal was acquired in December by News Corp.. Among other top papers, the numbers looked far worse. The New York Times, the third-largest newspaper, which is facing stiffer competition from the Journal, saw daily circulation slide 3.85% to 1,077,256, while Sunday circulation tumbled 9.3% to 1,476,400. But keep in mind that the semi-annual release of circulation data doesn't provide a complete picture of the newspaper industry's overall health. The industry's most pressing problem isn't the state of print circulation, which has been in decline since the mid-1980s. Instead, it is figuring out how to generate more advertising revenue from both its shrinking but still lucrative print product and its growing online properties. (See: "Newspaper Circulation: Parsing The Numbers".) Still, nothing here should be seen as good news. Some newspapers reporting modest gains in the previous reporting period saw circulation slide again. The Los Angeles Times, published by Tribune, reported a daily circulation decline of 5.1% and a 6.1% drop on Sunday, after notching a tiny 0.5% gain in daily circulation during the six months ended Sept. 30. The Philadelphia Inquirer, which reported a 2.3% increase in daily circulation in the last reporting period, saw Monday-through-Friday circulation slide 5.1% this time around, while Sunday circulation fell 6.3%. The biggest loser in average daily circulation among the 25 largest newspapers was A.H. Belo's Dallas Morning News, which absorbed a 10.6% drop to 368,313. Other large newspapers reporting sharp daily circulation declines included the New York Times Co.-owned Boston Globe (down 8.3%), The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. (down 7.4%), the Star Tribune of Minneapolis (down 6.7%) and the Detroit Free Press (down 6.45%). Those with smaller-than-average losses included the New York Daily News (down 2.1%), the New York Post (down 3.1%), the Houston Chronicle (down 1.8%), the St. Petersburg Times (down 2.1%) and the San Diego Union-Tribune (down 2.6%). Some mid-size and smaller papers reported gains in average daily circulation. They included MediaNews Group's San Jose Mercury News, which saw daily circulation rise 1.7% to 234,772; Gannett's Cincinnati Enquirer, which posted a 2.9% increase to 212,369; and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which reported a 1.2% rise to 129,563. The biggest overall gain came at the Spanish-language El Diario La Prensa of New York, published by ImpreMedia, which saw daily circulation jump 7.6% to 53,856.