Newspaper circulation numbers came out earlier this week and the Republic is down a few percent....It's a death spiral...yada yada yada. Back when I was the only one pointing out that the newspaper business model was collapsing and that web-based content wouldn't sustain it, I wrote elaborate stories explaining my analysis while folks in the comment section--who had IP addresses from the Republic--said how wrong I was. Then came the furloughs, layoffs, collapsing share price gnashing of teeth and it was clear that I was right, so I've moved on.
So let's talk about my second favorite newspaper-in-collapse-theme: Dallas. You will recall that so far in our story, we have the hapless Keven Ann Willey being promoted from Republc political columnist to editor of the Republic Editorial pages and then making the big jump to Editor of the Dallas Morning News Editorial pages.
I cover the story because the disaster that struck the Dallas Morning News could have struck here.
When Keven went to Dallas in 2002, The Morning news had actually experienced an uptick in circulation and had 784,000 Sunday subscribers. Five years after Willey lent her decidedly left of center bent to the editorial pages, the subscription number had fallen to 520,000.
That's when disaster struck. In December of 2007, Willey and the Editorial Board gave the prestigeous "Texan of the Year" award to..."The Illegal Alien."
In the maelstrom that followed, Texans (the legal kind) cancelled their subscriptions by the score. When asked about the number of cancellations, Willey provided the most tone deaf response I've heard from the media.
"Against our customer base, it's just not a material number."
Subscriptions have declined every month since Willey made that statement. The results from the Audit Bureau for the last six months show the Dallas Morning news lost another 5% of Sunday subscribers bringing the total to just under 374,000. That's 400,000 fewer than when she took over.
Against any customer base...that's a material number.