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Good News Dallas
by Scott Bennett    Tue, Oct 25, 2005, 10:20 PM

newspapers.jpgEditor & Publisher announced that the circulation of the Dallas Morning News dropped again in September with a 7% drop from the same period last year.  The News says that the drop is largely due to a change in circulation processes and when that is taken into account the real figures are more like 3% for daily circulation and 2% for Sunday.  My more cynical colleagues hold the new process is called "accurate reporting."  Maybe but I am not a cynic.

The fact is that these are tough time for the newspaper industry.  A few weeks ago the Dallas Press Club established a journalism scholarship for Dallas' most lovable curmudgeon and possibly most powerful man, business columnist Robert Miller.  It did so at an entertaining roast.  When it came Miller's time to defend himself he finished with a sobering comment: "Isn't it ironic that they are establishing a scholarship for a dying industry."  Wow.

Are newspapers as we have known and loved them really dying?  Maybe.  One thing for sure their readers are and they are not being replaced by younger readers.  My friends in their 20s and 30s (educated and professional all) literally never touch a newspaper; they live on-line.  Yet, when the newspapers try to reposition themselves to attract younger readers they alienate their older readers.  Then there is my personal bafflement:  Why does anyone buy the Dallas Morning News when they can get everything it has to offer but the comics on-line for free? 

For my money the Dallas Morning News is still the best regional paper in America.  Yet it too is caught in the industry's chaos.  What is the answer?  If Jim Moroney were to call for advice I would probably tell him to go into plastics. 

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