News Tribune circulation declines

Daily newspaper circulation in the Puget Sound area and the nation continued to fall in the past six months, according to new figures.

Figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations released Monday showed average daily newspaper circulation dropped by 14.3 percent among the region’s six daily newspapers. Nationwide, newspaper circulation fell 8.7 percent year-to-year for the six months ending March 31.

At The News Tribune, daily circulation for that period was 87,315, a decline of 14,885, or 14.6 percent.

Fellow McClatchy paper The Olympian saw a slightly smaller percentage decline, 13.2 percent, to 25,535.

Sunday circulation was off a lesser amount, 7.6 percent for the region, and 13.7 percent for The News Tribune and 11.8 percent for The Olympian.

“We definitely have our challenges with the economy,” said Christian Lee, vice president of circulation for The News Tribune and The Olympian.

Readership figures painted a somewhat brighter picture than circulation. Readership measures the number of people reading the stories , not just the number of copies of papers sold.

Those figures show that 58.9 percent of Pierce County’s populace reads The News Tribune once or more a week, either in print or online. That figure is down, too, from the same period a year ago .

During the period from September 2008 through March 2009, the combined print and online papers reached 66 percent of Pierce County residents.