First, newspaper circulations; not in Britain for a change, but America, where one developing factor – the rise of the internet – is a year or two further advanced. So, the Baltimore Sun is down 11.5 per cent year on year. That’s worse than any British national daily. The Los Angeles Times has lost 6.4 per cent, the Chicago Tribune some 6.6 per cent, the Cleveland Plain Dealer 5.2 per cent.
Add in the Miami Herald (down 3.7 per cent), the Washington Post (2.6 per cent) and the San Francisco Chronicle (7 per cent) and what have you got? An average decline across 814 US dailies of almost 2 per cent, and 7 out of 10 papers catching a chill.
And that’s bad news for news on paper itself, because the biggest sufferers are also giant area monopolies. Their readers aren’t drifting off to a rival, because such rivals barely exist. (Indeed, some competitive papers, such as USA Today, are fractionally up.) No, the defectors are packing up and moving out of newsprint: to broadcasting in tiny measure (though radio and TV news are losing customers, too) but overwhelmingly to the net.