The Media Oxpecker: Do Current Reporting Rules Make Circulation Stats Meaningless?

Every week we round up industry news you may have missed while you were busy innovating your way out of a crisis.

  • The Audit Bureau of Circulations released its newspaper readership report for the six-month period ending on March 31 and found that newspaper circulation rose by 0.7% overall, 5% on Sundays.

    Time to pop the bubbly? Not so fast, says Ad Age media editor Nat Ives:

    Nuances in the reporting rules, however, mean that not every unit of additional circulation reflects a new reader. A newspaper can count paying readers twice if, for example, they read both the print edition and a gated digital version.

    Poynter’s Andrew Beaujon adds:

    Digital replicas, branded editions such as Spanish language papers and digital subscriptions can all be counted according to publishers’ preferences, “allowing organizations to double or triple-count subscribers if they pay for access to one or multiple digital platforms.”

  • Major advertisers are questioning the value of advertising on Facebook, the Wall Street Journal reports:

    “The question with Facebook and many of the social media sites is, ‘What are we getting for our dollars?'” said Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing at Kia Motors Corp.’s North American division.
    The automaker has advertised on Facebook since 2009 and plans to increase its ad spending on the site. While building brand awareness on a site with 900 million users is valuable, Mr. Sprague said he’s unclear if “a consumer sees my ad, and does that ultimately lead to a new vehicle sale?”

  • American Prospect editor (and former L.A. Weekly editor) Kit Rachlis says the publication may be forced to close its doors if it can’t fill a $500,000 funding gap:

    The Prospect‘s board is looking at various options for keeping the brand going, including cutting the frequency of the print publication (or print altogether). However, Rachlis said he’s hopeful the Prospect can raise the money to continue the print magazine, while also moving forward with a tablet product.

  • The New York Times laid off over 50 non-newsroom employees on Wednesday.

  • David Brauer reports on the decision by Twin Cities Business editor Dale Kurschner to allow a source to review a story prior to publication:

    “Normally, we don’t do” pre-publication review, “but part of the issue was logistics. It’s impossible to call and talk about a 14-page story” over a jailhouse phone. “He’s charged so much for calls and has no money. He can’t just get on the phone and email people.”

    The other issue, Kurschner says, was [Tom] Petters’ plans to appeal his conviction, for which he is serving 50 years with no chance of parole. Petters’ “hypersensitive” lawyers advised him not to do the story; pre-review was necessary to clinch the deal.

  • Austin Carr on the “Yelpification of Foursquare”:

    I’m now using the app more often than I ever have before. Obtusely, I used to think of Foursquare as a check-in service–a way to keep track of my and my friends’ whereabouts. But the startup has evolved the service into something much greater, and something that’s arguably much more valuable: a mobile, socially powered version of Yelp.

  • From Sheepshead Bites editor Ned Berke’s “Manifesto for Hyperlocal”:

    Community reporting requires more than cogs. It requires more than an academic familiarity of those it covers. What meaningful local reporting requires is a personal investment. If the reporter doesn’t stand to benefit from a healthy community, his coverage will serve to dramatize and exacerbate problems rather than solve them.

  • Columbia University will distribute $2 million in grant money to find “best practices” in digital media.

  • How and why you should do data journalism.

  • Talking Points Memo is switching to Facebook comments. One of the key reasons is that “a robust and secure commenting system is just very difficult to build and maintain,” explains editor & publisher Josh Marshall.

  • Other apps could learn from’s location features, says Jon Mitchell at ReadWriteWeb.

  • As Groupon publicly struggles, LivingSocial continues to grow.

  • MagnaGlobal has revised its 2012 online ad growth forecast upwards from 10 percent to 12 percent.

  • Should all ad impressions on mobile devices really count as ‘mobile?’

  • “Yesterday The Boston Globe ended all your tomorrows.”

  • And finally, see the Tumblr that took journo-Twitter by storm yesterday: #realtalk from your editor.

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