Newspapers aren’t dying as fast as you think


By Rick Edmonds

Digital media executive Richard Tofel made a splash last week with a brief but alarming post on Medium arguing that newspaper print circulation has fallen surprisingly low.

There was no irony intended, Tofel told me in an email exchange, in his headline choice: “The sky is falling on newspapers faster than you think.” I gotta say, though, that while Tofel is right on several important points, there is more than a little Chicken Little at play too.

Most oddly, Tofel concedes in the post that 2013 audited numbers for “total print circulation” and 2015 “individually paid circulation” are not an “apples-to-apples comparison.”  But he plows ahead with comparing them anyhow in a then-and-now listing of 25 of the nation’s largest papers  — and doesn’t bother to check how much differences in definition might account for a good share of the apparent declines.

Tofel is right that print…

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