Magazine article Editor & Publisher

TODAY'S LETTERS: Scarborough Responds to FAS-FAX Story and 'NYT' Columnists Debate Continues

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

TODAY'S LETTERS: Scarborough Responds to FAS-FAX Story and 'NYT' Columnists Debate Continues

Article excerpt

Readers wrote in today about the recent Audience-FAXreports as well as The New York Times columnists.

First FAS-FAX Numbers: Many Top Papers Take Big Hits

The article "Audience-FAX Ponders A More Perfect Metric" would benefit from further clarification. This is a new and complex initiative and I would like to take the opportunity to explain it further.

The article states that Audience-FAX "...methodology puts papers at a disadvantage in comparison to other media measurements." There are two points of clarification. First, Audience-FAX does not have its own distinctive methodology. The data within the report and database comes from three contributing sources, employing three different methodologies: circulation data from the ABC, newspaper print and website audience information from Scarborough Research (and, in some cases, other comparable sources), and web traffic measures from firms such as Nielsen//NetRatings and Omniture. Each of these sources has its own distinctive methodology.

Further, newspapers are NOT put at a disadvantage with Audience-FAX. Quite the contrary. The inclusion of audience data facilitates a level playing field when newspapers are compared with other established media, such as television and radio, which are also routinely evaluated on the basis of audience. Audience-FAX is significant because newspaper audience data is more important than ever, as it helps publishers and advertisers discern and demonstrate the size and composition of newspaper audiences.

The website audience metrics also require clarification. Audience-FAX contains two online metrics from Scarborough Research: 1. a past-seven day online readership number, 2. a past-30 day online readership number. During a panel discussion at the recent ABC Annual Conference on Nov. 8, Bob Cohen, president of Scarborough Research, stated that newspapers are using both metrics. The 30-day website number is more common to the digital community; whereas the 7-day number is more common to newspapers. At the request of the newspaper industry, Audience-FAX contains both metrics.

The final point I would like to make is about Saturday readership. The potential inclusion of the Saturday readers within Audience-FAX would impact the total audience minimally. …

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