You may not be shocked to learn that newspapers aren't as open and forthright about their falling circulation numbers as they could be. The Audit Bureau of Circulations used to publish the figures every six months, but changed methodologies and then pretty much went dark. That's why this article from ProPublica President Richard Tofel is so interesting. Tofel has a new chart that is not widely available plus a few observations like this:
Nearly everyone in publishing with whom I shared the 2015 paid figures found them surprisingly low. There is no question that they are dramatically lower.
I have observation of my own. First, let me concede that these figures aren't apples-to-apples because the 2013 numbers are likely to be inflated. That's because the papers used to count promotional copies in their circulation numbers. That's why you used to see bundles of papers in the office at your kids' elementary school. But even accounting for the fact that the 2013 numbers are artificially high, I have this comment:
OMG! The Republic's circulation numbers dropped 42% in two and half years! This is the newspaper that serves one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. By comparison, the Dallas Morning News dropped about 26% over the same time period.
Why would the Republic's collapse be faster than comparable papers? I would argue that the Republic is paying a heavy price for insisting on keeping a hard left opinion team in a solid red state. There's not one state-wide elected Democrat in Arizona, yet the paper insists on pummeling readers with a steady stream of nihilistic leftist drivel from the left and lefter team of Laurie Roberts and EJ Montini with an assist from hard left Tucsonan Linda Valdez.*
Footnote: People occasionally point out that Bob Robb is a conservative columnist. That's probably true, but his work is overwhelmed by the others because he's not as prolific. OK. That's not the real reason that his work is overwhelmed by the others. The real reason is that his columns read like IRS Instruction Booklets.