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Newspaper Circulation Still Falling … But More Slowly

Weekday distribution dropped 8.7% from September through March; the figure was 10.6% last year

The nation’s top newspapers are still in a circulation freefall, but at least the rate of descent is slowing down a little.

Figures released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulation show the average weekday circulation for dailies fell 8.7 percent year-to-year in the six-month period ending March 31. That year-to-year drop was 10.6 percent over the same September-March period ending in 2009.

Sunday circulation, meanwhile, dropped 6.5 percent in the latest study; its decline was 7.5 last year.

Among top 25 dailies, the San Francisco Chronicle’s weekday circulation declined 23 percent to 241,330, while the Washington Post saw a drop of 13.1 percent to 578,482.

USA Today dropped 13.6 percent to an average daily circulation of 1.83 million, with the national paper still seeing softness in its hotel and airport distribution.

The only major daily posting gains was The Wall Street Journal, which saw a 0.5 percent circulation uptick to 2.09 million. The News Corp.-owned paper passed USA Today as the circulation leader in the process.

The No. 3-ranked paper, The New York Times, reported an 8.5 percent weekday circulation decline to 951,063. Sunday circulation dropped 5.2 percent to 1.38 million.