Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Duke lacrosse: Three “top-of- the-line” posts

Johnsville today documents the growth of gangs in Durham and the great harm they’re doing to our community while Durham DA Mike Nifong spends his time trying to put David Evens, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann in jail and Durham Herald Sun Editor Bob Ashley slumbers in his paper’s snooze room.

KC Johnson at Durham-in-Wonderland takes another look at Herald Sun “reporting” on Nifong’s self-serving, often contradictory statements and his abuses of the powers of his office. KC makes clear that if it wasn’t for how harmful Nifong’s actions are, we could dismiss much of the Herald Sun’s Duke lacrosse and Nifong reporting as farce. [For some weeks after the Duke Hoax story broke, the Herald Sun did some good, even excellent reporting. Then Ashley decided he needed to get more “hands on;” after which the H-S Duke lacrosse reporting declined rapidly to the level it’s at now. – JinC]

Liestoppers offers “Durham DA Race Heats Up, Ashley Pretends Not to Notice” The post contains important information on the DA’s race, including an exposure of Ashley’s deceptions about important aspects of the race in what’s supposed to be The Herald Sun’s non-partisan voter’s guide. Would it surprise you that the deceptions are clearly meant to discourage a vote for Lewis Cheek?

All three post are “top of the line.”

BTW - I don't know who came up with "snooze room," but if it's you who's reading this now, "Thank you." John


Anonymous said...





These are current stats for 4 NC newspapers. All numbers are averaged from monday through friday, ie, excluding weekends. That averaging doesn't hurt H-S but it definately does do so for N&O: they reach 217,000 copies for weekend editions. H-S stays pretty much static.

Greenville's 'Reflector' was included because I happen to be from that city. Greenville is a small college city (do not let the pop stats lead you to believe it's large). In Greenville most people choose to either get both the reflector and the N&O or just the N&O. That's something H-S lacks: broad market apppeal.

Anyway those subscriber numbers determine the financial viability of a newspaper company. H-S's have been declining at a faster rate than N&O's although I'm not going to bother checking out the 'Editor and Publisher Year Book' (three volume set) and comparing it to past years editions. If I did ever feel like doing that I would also check out the ad rates - which are probably less for H-S than the numbers would indicate (function of subscribers/readers and socioeconomics).

Thought I'd plug that in there.

Oh as for a NC city with a comparable circulation to that of H-S: Asheville.

Anonymous said...

I thought I'd also point out that the Greenville Reflector is a miserable paper that is owned by Cox Cable. The 'writers' - of which there are only a few - do some local stories and buy everything for the front page from the various syndicates. They lack all the sections that a 'real' paper has - it is almost a community paper. There is not some editorial board...just a screener who reviews letters and publishes them.

JWM said...

Anon 6:14 and 6:16,

Thank you for the research ad informed commentary.

Re. the 44K Avg. M-F for H-S.

I've heard that H-S #s are in "steady decline" and the advertisers are demanding rates based on presumed lower circ. #s.

Any thoughts on that.

Also, JinC readers keep asking ?s about why a news organization doesn't pick up the H-S and use it s a "base" from which to challenge N&O for Eastern NC market.

Any reaction to that?

I hope you keep commenting and visiting.

A # of news folks are now reading JinC.

I hope to pay more attention to newspaper issues apart from just content for readers.

Thanks again.


Anonymous said...

You’re Welcome!

Baldo’s Handler

Anonymous said...

In order to gain control of the H-S a media company would most likely have to purchase the parent company of H-S - Paxton Media Group. If they attempted to purchase just H-S they would have to pay a premium that would not be justified for a struggling paper. If they bought the entire company they would be making a big bet on a declining industry (paxton focuses on 'smaller' markets) and that is 'newspaper'.

What advertisers are willing to pay depends on your six month subscription numbers (ie avg to date), your market share, the decline of your subscribers/readers (the extent of the decline, most papers experience declining subscriptions so magnitude counts), and the socioeconomic background of a paper's readers.

H-S has a falling circulation (falls faster than n&o but that should be expected - one is superior). To make things 'worse' for them they have a readership that is not as well off as those who read the N&O which gives them lower ad rates than if they had matched N&Os decline.

You can get the actual ad rates for any paper in the US (well most but H-S, greenville reflector, etc are there) from the Editor and Publisher's Year Book. Editor and Publisher is a kind of 'trade group' for the newspapers - they also have their own 'writers' who cover conflicts between papers etc. Their 'year book' is a lucrative annual publication that advertisers purchase in order to pay the 'right' price. There are other publications of course but they are all based on the data collected from the auditing group that newspapers use. This auditing group, however, is not that strong so there is room for manipulation (run copies that don't sell but run them to include in readers etc). Magazines have had this issue too but they are forced to display their subscribers, readers, others, and destroyed copies on the inserts of each copy (or at least they did a year or so ago when I was last interested in it).

If you purchased the H-S you would really have to pour money into a 'sinking ship'. You'd be better off purchasing the N&O (we're assuming that you could purchase it from the company for a reasonable rate). H-S may have reached a point where it isn't attractive to a trade buyer because N&O is a SUBSTITUTE. That's why I mentioned the Greenville Reflector. People in Greenville view N&O as superior in almost every respect so it is a substitute for the reflector - except that the reflector has some Greenville stuff that isn't covered in the N&O. That's about all that is keeping them from imploding.

Ashely will be forced to make a decision as to whether the paper is going to try to compete with N&O or whether it will become something like the Greeenville Reflector with a Durham only 'feel'. Right now it seems as if they want to be both.

I actually realized how sad H-S was way way back when in this case: N&O got all the interviews of note with the various officials/attorneys/etc AND THE AV. Why didn't the AV get interviewed by the H-S which would be expected for a DURHAM paper with a readership that probably would be more receptive (even more since of the hysteria).

My conclusion was that the H-S doesn't have enough reporters to track people down or do any sort of real investigative work. N&O has the resources and the subscriber numbers show it. They also have a strong parent company which you can see at their website - the parent company pays for the IT stuff and placed a big emphasis on it - newspapers recognize the need for a strong internet presence.

Anonymous said...

To know the actual trends for the ad rates you would have to actually look at prior year copies of the Editor and Publisher's Year Book. Duke has a copy at the reference shelf, so does Wake, Carolina, ECU, etc. The 'problem' is that it is not online and I do not feel the need to chart the decline of H-S. I think it's enough to know that they aren't doing so well. Perhaps if they did something REALLY OUTRAGEOUS I'd produce some lovely graphics showing their pending implosion.

The E&P Year Book is a three volume set that comes out annually. The problem that I 'have' is that the library I can use doesn't seem to have enough years to make a plot...ie last years is not in the catalog.

Duke on the other hand has the editions from 1921-present.

I suppose another way to do this would to be to call someone who advertises in the H-S frequently. ie, the biggest spender. You might be able to get a picture of how much leverage that advertiser has over the H-S plus the advertiser would know the circ stats of the paper. There are also media buying groups that specialize in bringing the papers and advertisers together of course.

I'm more interested in 'who' the readers of the H-S are (ie what sort of potential jury members). It would be nice to know what audience is being inflamed. It's my guess Cheshire is aware of the audience and knows all about the subscribers to H-S, N&O, etc...his investigators are capable of going to a library.