The Bad News, and Not-So-Bad News

On more than one occasion in the past three years I’ve blogged not about property per se but about how journalism (including property journalism) is changing, and fast.

Now over 50 per cent of my work appears online-only and the rest - mostly for national newspapers - appears online a little before or usually at the same time as the print version reaches newsagents’ shops and falls through letter boxes.

That shift towards digital distribution has taken another great leap in the past year, for me personally and for the media at large.

Latest figures about newspaper circulations, from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, make grim reading for traditionalists and suggest exciting changes for the rest.

- The Sun; 2.043m daily circulation; down 10.27 per cent in one year;

- Daily Mail; 1.741m, down 5.62 per cent;

- The Mirror; 965,248; down 6.71 per cent;

- Daily Telegraph; 540,501; down 1.27 per cent;

- Daily Express; 502,163; down 5.09 per cent;

- Daily Star; 491,726; down 9.03 per cent;

- The Times; 364,459; down 2.92 per cent;

- i; 292,488; up 0.4 per cent;

- Financial Times; 236,528; down 17.41 per cent;

- The Guardian; 203,069; down 0.56 per cent;

- The Independent; 67,286; down 13.85 per cent.

The headlines are obvious:

- almost all readership down, often by double-digit percentage;

- the titles with the older readerships down less than most others;

- some implicitly reaching quite marginally-viable positions.

But there is good news too (or at least not-so-bad news) which is not contained in these figures.

We know that readership of general online news sources has been strong and specifically that many newspapers - from the FT to the Daily Mail - have extremely good growth in their online readership.

Then there is Twitter, the blogosphere and tablet-friendly hybrid publications, all bringing news to people in ways not included in the woeful newspaper circulation figures.

For those of us who write feature material (traditionally amongst the least-read sections of papers) the position looks bleak but in most cases these features now have online lives of their own.

In other words, there are two sides to these circulation figures.

But only one if the only way you get your news is via print.

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