Numbers don’t lie—and Miami Herald’s keep going down


When McClatchy bought Knight-Ridder, the now-defunct newspaper company, it was valued in the billions.

Now, the Sacramento, California-based chain, which owns The Miami Herald among other papers, is worth less than $65 million.

To compare, USA TODAY and newspaper publisher Gannett’s market capitalization, the total dollar market value of a company’s outstanding shares, is nearly $1.2 billion. (Full disclosure: McClatchy is down to 29 daily papers, while Gannett has over 100, with nearly 1,000 weeklies.)

That brings us to the ever-accelerating death spiral of The Herald, according to their own circulation numbers.

This year, the sputtering Herald — a newspaper barely surviving off the fumes of its own history — continued the practice it started last year of obfuscating the steep decline in its print circulation by combining daily and Sunday into a single figure.

That means that again this year’s daily and Sunday numbers are ‘weighted estimates,’ based on the pre-2017 differences between the two circulation categories.

Publishers have to disclose and print certified statements, with the latest appearing in the Herald’s pages on Sept. 30.

The upshot: The seven-day average has now dropped to 53,141 from 175,898 in 2009, their own disclosures show. Numbers for each year are based on the reported average circulation during the previous 12 months.

Except for an uptick in 2015, the numbers have fallen every year, so that the seven-day average circulation is down nearly 70 percent from 2009 to 2018.

Let that marinate for a moment: A newspaper that boasts it’s “won 22 Pulitzer Prizes since its inception in 1903” is down to the circulation of what a small-town paper used to put out back in the day. 

And it’s not even in Miami anymore. It’s now headquartered in Doral after the old building was torn down in 2015 to make way for a casino that’s never going to be built.

The good news, if you can call it that, is that listed separately for 2018 are 10,679 paid “E-edition copies.” Though there’s no telling at what bargain-basement price they were offered.

It makes one wonder: Will Herald Tallahassee bureau chief Mary Ellen Klas have an employer to return to, once she finishes that vaunted Nieman fellowship next year? We’ll see.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


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