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Canberra Times circulation

By b2 - 21 February 2006 29

Well it looks as if the Canberra Times is trying to raise its circulation figures again. Boy was I suprised to find a rolled copy on the nature strip this morning with a nice note inside, it read:

Dear Reader,
Welcome to your complimentary copy of The Canberra Times.
This delivery of Canberra’s own daily paper is to introduce you to some current additions while keeping you informed and up-to-date on daily events.

then it goes on to spruik the paper and details whats in it everyday of the week. At the end there is of course the subscription offer, ‘…call our friendly customer service staff or visit your local newsagency.’

Did everybody receive their complimentary copy of CT? or was it just some of us in Ainslie?

UPDATE: Areaman has kindly found a possible explanation in Crikey.

FURTHER UPDATE CityNews is running their usual gloat, complete with picture of CTs being given away in Garema Pl, over the latest circulation figures whilst kindly informing people they will be increasing their print run.

ANOTHER UPDATE: This in today’s Crikey:

Poor old Canberra, poor old Canberra Times. The ACT’s population is ageing. And as we reported yesterday, The Canberra Times circulation is dropping. The Canberra Times has said it fell victim to one-off hits the last circulation period, but an email that did the rounds of all the staff at the paper yesterday suggests that, like the Canberra community, the paper’s getting wobbly. It flogs a new feature in Start Living, a monthly section for seniors, profiling people over 50 – desperately asking staff if they “can think of anyone who has done anything mentionable, and would be happy to be interviewed”. – Christian Kerr

Another loss for The Canberra Times. The Age, suddenly short of staff after so many took the golden handshake, has started to fill the empty desks. Jumping out of the Canberra Times is Ben Doherty, their ACT political roundsman who is coming to Melbourne on “Special Projects” for The Age. Doherty is from a well-known Brisbane classical music family and plays six instruments. In an unusual combination of skills, the big Ainslie centre half forward was also listed with Melbourne and Essendon, but never played a senior game due to a string of injuries. – Stephen Mayne

What’s Your opinion?

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29 Responses to
Canberra Times circulation
Kerces 11:06 am 22 Feb 06

Mr Shab, being the journalism student I am, I thought if people are actually interested in reading more original stuff that might motivate me to go out and find some (especially given this’ll be the last year I have the luxury).

The next question of course is will the name RiotACT hold as much sway in being able to get interviews with MLAs and the like as the CT or ABC? I can but hope…

johnboy 10:48 am 22 Feb 06

silly silly CT not valuing the content providers. Ben Doherty’s a rare piece of local talent actually able to go out and find stories.

More Marcus Mannheim and Helen Musa then?

DT 10:41 am 22 Feb 06

CT’s losing another somewhat experienced journalist, by the way. Ben Doherty’s off to The Age. Sure to be replaced by another journalistic newcomer.

Mr_Shab 10:37 am 22 Feb 06

Kerces – more original journalism would be ace, but who’s going to do it? That was an actual question by the way – not rhetorical. Get out and journalise you journalistic things!

Sorry – won’t be me though. I just like to rant and slag other people’s arguements 😉

Thumper 10:06 am 22 Feb 06

I only buy Sundays edition because its got the local cricket scores in it.

Apart from that its becoming increasingly irrelevant which is sad given that this city needs a newspaper to keep up with local issues. After all, there are 350K or so people in this fair city.

Could it be we are starting to see the predicted influence of the internet in that all paper material will one day disappear? I certainly hope not because the online version of the CT is frankly woeful.

My Chronicles must get stolen, given I live in Charnwood. *g*

Kerces 9:59 am 22 Feb 06

Ok, straw poll of those reading this thread:

Would you like to see more original journalism on RA, for example interviews on the topics of the day rather than rehashing of press releases?

nyssa76 7:52 am 22 Feb 06

There’s no “real” news in Canberra – just the tabloid BS – or so we are told by the CT.

I’d rather read RiotAct and online newspapers. I sometimes buy the Saturday CT but most of the time it isn’t worth it.

Snarky 10:48 pm 21 Feb 06

yup – we got our freebie in Rivett a month or so ago. I don’t think I even unwrapped the plastic…

It’s a mystery why Rural Press have let the paper go the way it has. This is the national capital for heaven’s sake – 300,000 people leading interesting lives in a place with a territory governemt chamber and where the national Parliament influences the rest of the nation. Is there really no local news, no local well-reasoned analysis available daily?? Why is is that only the Saturday edition could be called a decent read?

I run a business here and I have to say that the advertorial policy -from a businesses viewpoint – is bloody marvellous. if you can string 400 more or less coherent words together with a picture, it’ll get published. It’s an advertiser’s wet dream. As a reader.. well, I stopped my sub 8 months back. I read the national papers online during the week, and get the Saturday edition for the opinion, analysis and culture. I just don’t get much Canberra NEWS anymore.

terubo 10:19 pm 21 Feb 06

All I get ‘free’ is the Chronicle and – once in a blue moon – the City News. Not only do they clog my letterbox (thus keeping phone/elec/gas/water bills out – handy), they make the ‘Crimes’ look like high-end literature.
Which it isn’t. But I do like the ‘Panorama’ section on Sats, I think it beats the Oz ‘Review’ by some way…

Swaggie 8:25 pm 21 Feb 06

Never mind if it was a horse I’d shoot it. If it was a newspaper I’d read it. It’s neither. We do get it every day, more out of habit than anything else and I often wonder if it’s worth it. A focus on local events (past and upcoming) and critical analysis of local politics would help.

bonfire 6:23 pm 21 Feb 06

Not only is it becoming increasingly more tabloidy, but often it just regurges the same wire articles i can access online.

the analysis of local issues is sorely lacking, and when it is there its flimsy. i still get the weekend edition out of hope more than anything and of course for the few act journos id read; crispin hull, ian warden, shanahans wine column. the book reviews are usually sound.

angela shanahan is a right wing jesus freak, too many articles are journalism by press release and the volume of news is decreasing. take the sunday times for example. 32 pieces of paper a few weeks ago. and why the insert obsession with hollywood stars ?

if it was a horse you’d shoot it.

if they put a few more journos on, who had experience and printed more local news i might get it during the week as well.

Marco 6:14 pm 21 Feb 06

I got my ‘complimentary copy’ here in Banks around a month ago now, so you’re not the only one.

Spectra 3:45 pm 21 Feb 06

When I told the last CT telemarketer who called me that I wasn’t interested because I thought the paper had turned into a tabloid rag since Rural Press took over, she didn’t seem that surprised to hear it. I suspect I wasn’t the first to make such an observation.

GuruJ 3:37 pm 21 Feb 06

Yep. Quite seriously, I consider the RiotACT to be better source of local news than the Canberra Times in most cases.

areaman 2:41 pm 21 Feb 06

From Crikey

Crikey reporter Jane Nethercote writes:

What’s going on at The Canberra Times? The Rural Press-owned paper’s downward spiral has continued unabated over the last six-month circulation period (to December 2005) released last week.

Circulation was down at least 3% on all editions from the same period the year before (-3.17% Monday-Friday, -3.08% Saturday, -3.55% Sunday). Only The Courier-Mail was on a par, with a 3.49% circulation drop in its Saturday edition.

Canberra Times general manager Lloyd Whish Wilson was reported in his own paper on Saturday that circulation figures over the period had been adversely affected by a number of one-off factors, including the installation of new publishing equipment, which apparently caused delivery delays over an extended period and lost sales.

Maybe. But losing slabs of circulation is hardly a recent phenomenon at the Times (for figures since 1999, see here). Staffers must yearn for the halcyon days of 2000 when the same six-month period was up at least 5% on current figures (+7.91% Monday-Friday, +5.23% Saturday, +6.84% Sunday).

One of the reasons for the decline, one former staffer tells Crikey, is that the Times “does not tend to hire people with metro experience – they cost too much.” “When experienced people have gone they are replaced by very inexperienced ones, few of whom are from Canberra…and it shows.” And the editor, Michael Stevens, “while having some good news sense, is very provincial in his outlook”.

Other problems cited by insiders include Rural Press management’s lack of trust in the paper’s journalists, lowest common denominator journalism, “dubious ethics”, an increasingly blurred line between editorial and advertorial and mass exodus of experienced staff – when Rural Press bought the paper in 1998, “the new management made it clear the Old Guard was not welcome. Waterford was kicked upstairs, given a grandiose title, and deprived of all influence”, says one former staffer.

There’s “community dismay with the paper” which now “reads like a paper put together by outsiders”, says a Canberra media insider. While circulation figures have always been relatively small, the paper is a “boutique broadsheet with a very sophisticated audience” and its “influence is huge”.

But does the paper’s steadily declining circulation suggest that a growing number of Canberrans are looking elsewhere for their news?

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