Competition Has Taken Its Toll on Newspaper Reading

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Clark, Times-Union Reader Advocate

Newspapers have plenty of competition.

There is competition for news delivery from a wealth of cable, TV, weekly newspapers and Internet sources. The percentage of households buying daily newspapers has been dropping for decades, as reported by the Newspaper Association of America. In fact, total newspaper circulation in 2001 (55.6 million) was lower than it was in 1960 (58.9 million), despite population increases.

There is competition for advertising, which produces the bulk of newspaper revenue. In fact, broadcast and direct mail each produce about the same share of the advertising dollar as newspapers.

Perhaps more important, there is competition for time. Readers have multiple jobs, competing activities, long commutes and many leisure choices. That is one big reason why Sunday readership is better than weekday readership; people have more time to read on Sunday.

So who reads newspapers? Newspaper readers are more likely to be:

-- College graduates.

-- Older.

-- Homeowners.

-- In higher-income and executive jobs.

Here are other statistics from the Newspaper Association of America:

-- Only 9 percent of all graduates of college journalism programs go into newspaper and news service jobs. In fact, 31 percent go into other communications fields.

-- Recycled newsprint: Almost 78 percent of all newspapers in the United States are recovered and recycled. The average percentage of recycled newsprint used in U.S. newspapers is almost 30 percent. Recycled newsprint is also used in boxes, egg cartons, pencil barrels, grocery bags, cellulose insulation and tissue paper.

-- Newspapers on Web: More than 1,300 daily newspapers in North America have launched online services. …