Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Circulation: An Underreported Scandal?

Cheat Seeking Missiles is investigating what one savvy reader termed "the massive, industry-wide fraud scandal involving many of America's largest newspapers. They apparently have long overstated their circulation, basically, lying to advertisers. Where's the outrage?!?"

Well, it's here, that's for sure. My first Nexis search came up with 145 hits on varients of "newspapers," "circulation" and "overstating," which I'll start reading through, so watch for a report soon. Foolish mental meanderings of meanspirited media critics? I think not; witness this, from today's Associated Press newswire:

In an effort to shore up confidence in newspaper-circulation reporting, an industry group is moving to tighten controls and hire more auditing staff after misstatement scandals at four newspapers this year. The Audit Bureau of Circulations, a group comprising publishers and advertisers, is planning several steps to hold publishers more accountable for their paid-circulation reports, including compiling and disclosing a list of audits that are running late and the reasons for the delay. Newspaper advertisers and investors have been concerned about revelations this year that four newspapers overstated circulation figures: Newsday of Long Island and the Spanish-language Hoy, both owned by Tribune Co.; the Chicago Sun-Times, owned by Hollinger International Inc.; and the Dallas Morning News, owned by Belo Corp. - AP