What an in-your-face insult to the people who pay the bills!
As per usual the third section of the morning newspaper today is the Las Vegas Sun. As per usual for a weekday it is eight pages of mostly New York Times wire service copy. The front page has three such stories and there are several more inside, including an editorial. There are three letters to the editor from Nevadans and the back page is a graphic informing people how to sign up for ObamaCare, putatively created by the Sun “staff.”
The Sun has been in a joint operating agreement with the Review-Journal since 1989 under the Newspaper Preservation Act, which was intended to allow newspapers to combine expensive and duplicative business function yet maintain competitive news “voices.” The agreement, which has been subject to litigation over the years, does not expire until 2040. The Sun gets paid to provide the morning paper readers with that “competitive” news and opinion content.
Today the paid print subscribers got an infographic from the Sun that really had no local content.
Online, for free, however, the Sun website carries a Sun staff-generated editorial about gun control, a couple of local sports stories, a local entertainment piece about Celine Dion, a story about layoffs at the Mandalay Bay since the Oct. 1 shooting, a story about tattoos commemorating that shooting and a tale about a local restaurant. None appear in print for the paying reader.
Doesn’t sound like the editor of the Sun is putting any effort into making that joint operating agreement profitable, but rather is using the other paper’s resources to compete for online clicks.
The Nevada Press Association lists the circulation of the Review-Journal — and by default the Sun — as 175,841 daily. The only problem is that figure is from 2009, and that was somewhat inflated. According to a Fox News account that year, the Las Vegas newspaper grew in circulation from the previous year by 11,000 copies because the circulation auditing firm changed the rules to allow electronic online replica copies to count as paid circulation.
The weekday sales of print copies actually fell by 12,000 copies. At the time the paper subscription renewals included the electronic version in the price with an opt-out in fine print.
Who knows what the actual print circulation is eight years later.