ProJo circulation declines again

Oct 30, 2012

The ProJo continues to bleed print subscribers. According to the latest numbers from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, crunched by WPRI’s Ted Nesi, the daily Journal sold just 83,733 print copies on weekdays between April and Sept. 30, the period covered by the latest report. That is down by 6,352 from the figures reported 12 months ago.

On Sundays, the most lucrative advertising day of the week for newspapers, circulation dropped to 117,784, a decline of 11,240 since the September, 2011 report. Saturday circulation was also down.

There was a bit of bright news in the latest report: Subscriptions to its new electronic edition hit the 4,000 mark, coming in at 4,224.

The online had 1.2 million unique visitors, which equaled the readership of the old site a year ago.

That the ProJo is a mere shadow of the newspaper it was just a few years back is apparent every day. In 1990, the daily circulation was 203,647 and in 2010 it was 101,123.

The latest round of dismal circulation numbers may be what management was referring to last week, along with dropping advertising revenue, when it told the Providence Newspaper Guild, the union representing Projo workers, that layoffs will be announced soon. The Guild had been hoping to discuss contract concessions with management as a way to avert layoffs, but management has stated it will go ahead with plans to lay off another 15 or 16 advertising and journalism employees. This comes on the heels of the latest round of employee buyouts, which led to 11 employees leaving the state’s largest newspaper.

The Journal’s numbers were in sharp contrast to the Boston Globe, which reported circulation up 2.5 percent, the first increase in readership since 2004. While the Projo continues to shed readers, the Globe appears to have stabilized things.

The difficult challenge for the ProJo will be to get paying readers back even as the paper puts out a newspaper that will inevitably be further diminished by the departure of some fine younger journalists.