Category Archives: Effectiveness Of Print Media

Print Noticing vs. i-Noticing For Today’s Class Action Suits

Filed under Effectiveness Of Print Media, Green Class Notice

“Print Noticing vs. i-Noticing For Today’s Class Action Suits”
by Chris Guerriero

If you’re a Class Action Notice administrator putting together a Notice plan, or you’re searching for a company like Rust Consulting or Garden City Group to do it for you, then you probably already know how it works…

…most Class Action Notice ads go out in magazines, newspapers, radio and/or TV spots, and only a small fraction of potentially eligible members see those ads. It’s expensive, it’s time consuming, and it’s frustrating when the judge decreases attorney fees because the Notice results were limited.

The reason for this is simple.

We, as people, have changed the way we get information.

Newspaper and magazine readership is at an all-time low. The Pew Research Centre found that only one quarter of Americans actually read a daily paper¹.  In fact, magazine readership has been on a continuous decline since 1992 (see: ‘Effectiveness Of Print Media’ on this blog).

The reason?  People are turning to the internet for fast, free, up-to-date news and information.

Unfortunately, most traditional Class Action Notice plans are still based on a model that worked well 20 years ago, and worked marginally well 10 years, but no longer gets the results necessary for today’s courts. This model relies on an ever decreasing population who still get information from a daily paper or monthly magazine subscription.

Most people just don’t have enough leisure time these days to sit down and read the paper or flip through a magazine, and those who do, are inundated with advertisements. According to Hoovers “50 percent of a typical magazine is devoted to ads” (see:–ID__124–/free-ind-fr-profile-basic.xhtml)

…and big businesses know this – that’s why most large companies have shifted their advertising dollars from Print to the Internet. So why do so many Class Action notices still weigh so heavily on Print ads?

A handful of Class Action Noticing firms have slowly begun to embrace the internet, but most are still stumbling around the web by placing general ads and buying bulk banners which gets them ‘online’, but doesn’t deliver the Targeted Impressions that are really needed for effective Class Action Noticing in the 21st century.

Notice plans which are still based on a “1990’s model” are doomed to fail, simply because the people who need to see the Notices no longer get their information the same way. They’re surfing the internet from home, office, Blackberry, or iPhones.

During the next few years, there’s going to be a major shift in Class Action Noticing plans. A shift that increases the speed of placement. A shift that allows anyone to instantly track and measure every aspect of the Noticing plan in real-time. A shift that make the Class Members feel comfortable when they reach the settlement website.

And most importantly…

A shift that decreases the heavy costs of the old-style media buys.

Attorneys and Administrators who use these tactics (known as iNoticing²) will lead their industry, and will save themselves and their clients money. While those who fail to stay ahead, will struggle.


1. The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press:  Trends in News Consumption
2. iNoticing is a trademark of Green Class Notice, LLC a firm founded and run by Chris Guerriero, a leading author, speaker, and consultant in the internet field (

Yet another veteran-newspaper editor spills the beans…

Filed under Effectiveness Of Print Media

Yet another veteran-newspaper editor spills the beans about why print media is less and less effective at getting the word out, while online media is rising faster than ever.

Check out what Alan Mutter at the Newsosaur is saying.

Keep it up Alan – you’re doing a great job…

Print Magazine Sales Are Dropping As American Companies Shift Their Ads From Print To Online…

Filed under Effectiveness Of Print Media, Green Class Notice

According to Audit Bureau of Circulations, US magazines circulation fell another 9 pct during the second half of 2009 – which is on top of the 12 percent drop in the first half of the year.

Here’s 2 great posts about the massive decline in magazine and newspaper circulation:

1.)  Read as Newsweek confirms it’s Million-Copy Slash

2.)  See what Andrew Vanacore (AP Business Writer) says on WTOP Federal News Radio

It seems like every week we see another magazine or newspaper folding, either due to poor circulation sales, or from American companies pulling their ads from less effective print sources and re-routing their advertising dollars into media sources with easier tracking of sales and a higher rate of return such as the Internet.

PROOF… That Newspapers and Magazines Are Lying About Circulation To Hold Onto Advertisers?

Filed under Effectiveness Of Print Media

All America’s companies who advertise know this!

Everyone in the media business knows this!

What about you?  Have you seen ANY of the stats that show how rapidly, consistently and drastically both newspapers and magazine circulation is dropping.

…and it appears that those drops haven’t missed a month of decline since 1992.

A quick search on your favorite Online search engine will shows how many people are turning away from your local newspaper and getting their news Online instead.

…in fact, in 2 minutes and 12 seconds on Google, I was brought to the following list of media headlines from the New York Times.

This list gives you a quick peak back in time (all the way to the early 1990’s) showing how newspapers have overstated their numbers and dropped prices, to help offset the massive shrinking of their circulation.

U.S. Newspaper Circulation Falls 10% – October 2009
USA Today suffered a steep drop, losing the top spot in weekday circulation for the first time since the 1990s to The Wall Street Journal. The New York Times’ weekday circulation fell 7.3 percent.

For Magazines, the Down Days Continue – September 1, 2009
Street sales fall by 12.4 percent, but subscriptions rose, meaning that overall circulation was down by 1.2 percent, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Fall in Newspaper Sales Accelerates to Pass 7% – April 28, 2009
The rate of decline in circulation at the nation’s newspapers has accelerated since last fall, with industry figures showing a more than 7 percent drop compared with the prior year.

Celebrity Magazines Post a Downturn in Sales – February 10, 2009
Defying the maxim that escapism sells in tough times, celebrity gossip magazines took a recessionary hit last year, with some experiencing double-digit declines in circulation.

Newspaper Circulation Continues to Decline Rapidly – October 28, 2008
The long decline in newspaper circulation continued to accelerate, with sales over the spring and summer falling almost 5 percent from the previous year.

Magazine Sales Fall 6.3% at Newsstands – August 12, 2008
Newsstand sales of magazines fell 6.3 percent in the first half of 2008, an industry group said Monday, as rising gas and food costs led consumers to cut back on nonessential spending.

More Readers Trading Newspapers for Web Sites – November 6, 2007
The circulation declines of American newspapers continued over the spring and summer, according to figures released Monday.

Newspaper Circulation in Steep Slide Across Nation – August 14, 2007
Despite the slide, two New York City tabloids continued to buck the trend, posting the largest gains among major papers.

Newspaper Circulation Falls SharplyOctober 31, 2006
The decline, one of the steepest on record, adds to the woes of a mature industry beset by layoffs and the possible sale of some of its flagships. 

New Way to Gauge a Publication’s AppealSeptember 4, 2006
The company that verifies the readership of print publications has created a new figure that combines print readers and Web site traffic. 

(Does that mean that newspapers are now trying to combine Online readership with their actual Offline Sales to boost their perceived readership?  Not sure… but it sure looks that way!)

A Recasting, a Staff Shuffle and a Resignation at Dwell MagazineAugust 28, 2006
As last week’s resignation of Dwell’s editor in chief showed, some changes to broaden a magazine’s appeal can have unpleasant side effects.

Newsstand Magazine Sales Fell in the First Six Months of 2006August 22, 2006
Newsstand sales of magazines fell more than 4 percent, to about 48.7 million copies. Among domestic newsweeklies, Time magazine reported the biggest drop. 

Online Newspaper Ads Gaining Ground on PrintJune 6, 2006
In the matchup between the print and online versions of newspapers, signs of the Internet’s ascendancy are growing stronger. 

U.S. Newspaper Circulation Fell 2.5% in Latest PeriodMay 9, 2006
Daily circulation of American newspapers continued to slide during the six-month period that ended in March.

Newspaper Daily Circulation Down 2.6%November 8, 2005
Newspaper circulation fell 2.6 percent in the six-month period that ended in September, more than in any comparable six-month period since 1991.

Newspapers’ Circulation Still Going DownMay 3, 2005
The newspaper industry reported a 1.9 percent drop in daily circulation, representing the largest circulation loss in more than a decade.

As Technology Transforms Music, Billboard Magazine Changes, TooApril 25, 2005
Billboard, the bible of the ever-changing music industry, has made some big changes of its own, for the first time since 1963.

Your Daily Paper, Courtesy of a SponsorJanuary 10, 2005
Newspapers are relying on home delivery of free samples, paid for by advertisers, to raise paid circulation figures.

Bureau Vows to Tighten Its Audits of CirculationNovember 12, 2004
The leaders of the Audit Bureau of Circulations outlined steps to bolster confidence in the circulation figures reported by newspapers and magazines.

Newspaper Circulation Continues to DeclineNovember 2, 2004
The losses were widespread, with two-thirds of papers reporting flat or declining circulation. 

Publisher Weighs Sale of YM as Advertising SlipsSeptember 23, 2004
Gruner & Jahr Publishing USA told employees yesterday it was exploring the sale of YM, the company’s faltering teenage magazine. 

3 Newspapers Are Censured On CirculationJuly 13, 2004
Audit Bureau of Circulations punishes newspapers Chicago Sun-Times, Newsday and Hoy for breaking circulation rules as industry moves to restore confidence in its reporting practices; bureau’s board unanimously condemns deceptive and fraudulent circulation practices at three newspapers 

(Do newspapers really give their advertisers false circulation number just to keep them as clients?  That would just be horrible, but keep reading and you’ll see how many of them are confessing to pumping up their circulation numbers…) 

The Troubling Case of the Phantom ReadersJune 28, 2004
Advertising executives and Wall Street analysts question whether newspaper and magazine publishers are policing their circulation practices aggressively enough and if longstanding measures to monitor accuracy are still sufficient in an increasingly competitive climate; Newsday and Spanish-language daily Hoy, which are owned by Tribune Co, and Chicago Sun-Times, which is owned by Hollinger International, have recently acknowledged that they falsely pumped up their circulation to convey illusion o… 

THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Newsday Says Its Circulation Was Inflated, As Was Hoy’sJune 18, 2004
Newsday and Spanish-language daily Hoy, owned by Tribune Co, inflated circulation figures by as much as 10 percent for year ended September 2003; Newsday says it is reducing by about 40,000 copies average daily circulation of 579,729 it had reported to Audit Bureau of Circulations; says average Sunday figure it had reported, 671,819, is being reduced by about 60,000; Hoy’s average weekday and Sunday circulation figures–92,604 and 33,198–are being reduced by about 15,000 and 4,000 copies respectively…

THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Newspaper Circulation Continues Overall DeclineMay 4, 2004
Analysis of reports released by Audit Bureau of Circulations shows that while majority of nation’s 10 largest newspapers reported circulation gains for six months ended in March, most others lost readers during period, continuing industry’s overall long-term decline; some of biggest gains in readership are reported by New York City’s three daily newspapers, with New York Post, New York Times and Daily News reporting gains in average weekday circulation for six months ended March 31, and Post a… 

Report Has Mixed News For PapersNovember 4, 2003
Analysis of reports from Audit Bureau of Circulations finds results mixed for nation’s daily newspapers in latest six-month circulation figures; while three major daily newspapers in New York City report daily and Sunday gains over period ended Sept 30, circulation at Washington Post declined; Los Angeles Times reports slight loss, on average, on weekdays and Saturdays, and slight gain on Sundays; Wall Street Journal and USA Today, which do not publish on weekend, report gains in daily circulation… 

Sun Reports CirculationDecember 23, 2002
New York City’s fledgling weekday newspaper New York Sun has sales confirmed by Audit Bureau of Circulations averaging just under 18,000 daily for its first six months of publication; price reduction from 50 cents to 25 cents per issue appears to be aiding growth in circulation 

Panel Set to Change Newspaper Circulation AccountingNovember 20, 2000 

THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Newspaper Industry Fails To Stem Circulation DropMay 4, 1999
Months of effort by nation’s newspaper publishers to rein in price increases and to promote their publications aggressively failed to stem industry’s long-term circulation decline; latest figures from Audit Bureau of Circulations show average daily circulation down five-tenths of 1 percent, while Sunday circulation dropped by 1 percent, for six months ended March 30; newspapers that showed greatest ability to buck trend were those in competitive markets or those that command national audience, … 

THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Paid Newspaper Circulation In U.S. Continues to DeclineNovember 3, 1998
Audit Bureau of Circulations says daily and Sunday newspaper circulation continued to decline for six months ended Sept 30; reports paid circulation was down almost 11 percent from its 1984 peak of 63.3 million readers; three of five largest newspapers in country saw circulation declines, including Wall Street Journal, whose average daily circulation dropped almost 2 percent, to 1,740,450, from 1,774,880 in period a year ago; New York Times circulation dropped to 1,066,658, down more than seven…

THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Sunday Circulation Decreases At Many Big City NewspapersNovember 4, 1997
Sunday sales of newspapers are dropping at many of biggest Sunday papers; Audit Bureau of Circulations reports five of country’s eight biggest papers that publish on Sunday reported declines on weekends; three of them, Washington Post, Daily News and Chicago Tribune, show large losses in six months ended Sept 30; Daily News attributes drop in Sunday readership to price increase in April that it rolled back in September; weekday circulation results for six-month period at biggest papers are also… 

Drops in Circulation Continue for Most Big NewspapersMay 6, 1997
Figures released by Audit Bureau of Circulations show broad decline in newspaper circulation sales that began early in the decade continued for most big metropolitan dailies during winter months; of country’s 10 biggest papers, 4–USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times and Newsday–registered increases; The New York Times and Daily News of New York reported circulation declines of about 4 percent; Sunday circulation also suffered at most papers; other statistics; table 

Nation’s Newspapers Report Mixed Results on CirculationNovember 1, 1996
Audit Bureau of Circulations figures for six months ended Sept 30 show country’s two big national newspapers, Wall Street Journal and USA Today, continued to build their circulation leads over metropolitan dailies, whose own figures showed growth in suburban and Sun Belt markets and stagnation elsewhere; Wall Street Journal’s sales increased 1 percent, to 1,783,532, and USA Today’s daily paper increased 4 percent, to 1,591,629, and its Sunday paper topped two million for first time; New York Times… 

THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Big Newspapers Report Circulation Losses Are SlowingApril 30, 1996
Most of the country’s biggest daily newspapers lost circulation in the six months ended March 31 compared with the similar period a year earlier, according to nationwide figures released yesterday. But the declines were smaller than in the past for many and were offset by impressive gains by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and The Daily News in New York. Circulation figures are reported by the Audit Bureau of Circulations every six months and are based on statements from each publisher. 

THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Circulation Drops at Many Large PapersOctober 31, 1995
Continuing a recent trend, 7 of the country’s 10 largest metropolitan newspapers lost circulation in the six-month period that ended in September, according to data released yesterday. Many of the largest newspapers, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post, showed declines in Monday-through-Friday average daily circulation for the period that ended on Sept. 30, compared with the corresponding period a year earlier. Those three newspapers, and many others, also… 

THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Circulation Drop Continues At Most Large NewspapersMay 2, 1995
Continuing a downward circulation spiral for big American newspapers, 9 of the 10 largest metropolitan dailies lost weekday circulation in the most recent reporting period, according to data released yesterday. Broad erosion of newspaper readership has been a trend for decades. But widespread new declines in circulation at big-city newspapers have created anxiety among publishers. 

THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Large Newspapers Report New Falloffs in CirculationNovember 1, 1994
Nine of the 10 largest metropolitan newspapers in the country lost weekday circulation for the six months ending Sept. 30, compared with the period a year earlier, according to industry figures released yesterday. But newspaper executives and industry analysts said they felt relieved because a circulation plunge reported by many newspapers six months ago had slowed to a gradual slide. 

New York Post Figures FaultedApril 15, 1992
The New York Post overstated its circulation by 60,901, or more than 12 percent, in a report last year to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, according to the organization, which audits newspaper and magazine sales. The paper had claimed an average daily circulation of 552,227 for the six months ended Sept. 30, 1991, but the bureau has issued a revised average circulation of 491,326 for The Post during that period.

More data can be found using your favorite search engine, by typing in any phrase such as “newspaper sales decline”.

Newspaper and Magazine Readership At An All Time Low – While Online Readership Grows Every Day…

Filed under Effectiveness Of Print Media, Green Class Notice

All across the United States, newspaper and magazine distribution is dropping to an all-time low, as readers flock to the internet to get their daily doss of news faster, more up-to-date, and free!

Here’s the brief…

Star-Ledger circulation is at its lowest point in decades, in fact Star-Ledger editor Jim Willse recently said “…there is an erosion of some advertising, some related to the Internet. A newspaper company our size got caught in the plague. There is not an awful lot that is unique to this paper that has not hit other newspapers.”

Among those are the Gannett papers, which have slashed 3,000 newspaper jobs nationwide since August, including those 200-plus at its New Jersey dailies, which also include the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, the Daily Record in Parsippany, and the Daily Journal.

Also in New Jersey, the state’s number two paper, the Record in Hackensack, has consolidated numerous operations and assignments with its sister daily, the Herald News of West Paterson, and is expected to sell its headquarters building.

Below is a full article reprint from NJmonthly

Who is Covering New Jersey

Author: Mel Joelle

Newspaper staffs are shrinking. Can they still satisfy our need for news?

It’s rarely good news when newspapers make headlines. But that’s been the case in New Jersey in recent months as most major papers in the state have undergone significant belt-tightening. Now the editors and publishers of those papers are scrambling to do more with less, promising they can compensate for staff cuts through reorganization and new approaches to news coverage.

Many in the business—especially those whose jobs have evaporated—question whether these decimated newspapers can continue to fill the Garden State’s information needs. For the skeptics, it just does not add up. How, they ask, can fewer people cover the ongoing scuffles in state and local government at a time of increasing economic pressures and growing concerns about education, health care, and many other crucial issues? Then there’s the matter of New Jersey’s reputation for corruption and scandal. And let’s not forget the upcoming gubernatorial election.

“What is tragic is that some key investigative journalists are leaving,” says John O’Brien, executive director of the New Jersey Press Association. “There are several strong, well-entrenched journalists who are not going to be reporting.”

Consider, for example, Robin Gaby Fisher, a fifteen-year Star-Ledger veteran who was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 and 2005 for her coverage of the Seton Hall University fire and a feature story on a local alternative high school, respectively. Fisher is among the many editorial stars departing the Star-Ledger, the paper with the largest circulation in the state.

“The Ledger had really committed to watchdog coverage,” Fisher says. “Without it, I really, truly feel there could be rampant corruption.”

The Star-Ledger threatened to close or sell last summer if it could not get 200 employees to take buyouts and its unions to accept new contracts. The paper got its wish by October as 151 of the paper’s 330 newsroom staffers agreed to leave with one-year severance deals, marking a 45 percent newsroom cutback. The paper’s Trenton staff, which covers the state government, is among the areas being cut, although the exact headcount remains unclear. Sources say the Trenton team is dropping from eleven to four. Other employees are departing, including 100 mailers who agreed to buyouts as part of their union’s new accord.

The state’s number two paper, the Record in Hackensack, has consolidated numerous operations and assignments with its sister daily, the Herald News of West Paterson, and is expected to sell its headquarters building. Most reporters will be relocated to smaller offices in towns including Cresskill, Rutherford, Ridgewood, Fairlawn, and Westwood and will be armed with laptops, cell phones, and BlackBerries for mobile reporting. North Jersey Media Group, which owns both papers, also recently merged the two papers’ websites.

Gannett Company, owner of the state’s number three paper, the Asbury Park Press, and five other New Jersey dailies, cut 206 jobs across those papers in December. Its Trenton bureau was cut from six staffers to two. Gannett also combined the websites of two of its papers, the Home News Tribune of East Brunswick and the Courier News of Bridgewater.

“You are going to see a shift,” says Keith Dawn, publisher of the Press of Atlantic City, which lost fifteen non-editorial staffers. It will be, he says, “A newspaper shift from saying, ‘Do we cover every council meeting and school board meeting?’ to giving something up.”

Newspapers have long assumed the role of watchdog over official government business. But at the Star-Ledger, a number of newly departed veterans are now working for official agencies—some for the very agencies they used to cover. Ron Marsico, now at the Port Authority, had a reputation for doggedly monitoring it as a transportation reporter. Tom Feeney earned credit for watching the Turnpike Authority’s every move. He is now a media coordinator there.

Others include Paul Wyckoff, who landed a job with New Jersey Transit, and Joe Donohue, a Trenton reporter now working for the state. Bruno Tedeschi, the former city editor, is working for a Newark social services agency that his former reporters must cover.

The Star-Ledger lost most of its Essex County staff, which includes Newark reporters, and all but one person on its editorial board. The Union County and Warren County bureaus are closed, at least temporarily, although some of the reporters have been relocated. In some cases, interns have been promoted to reporting.

Longtime Star-Ledger writers and editors are buzzing about what the changes will mean.
“For me, it was a little cloud suddenly following me around,” says Steve Hedgpeth, a thirteen-year features employee who took the buyout at age 57. “If I stayed and they sold the paper or closed it, I would be left with nothing, or very little.”

Tedeschi predicts it will no longer be possible for the Star-Ledger to cover every state agency. What’s more, he says, “the Ledger always tried to cover all of its counties. I don’t see how that can be the case [now].”
Ian Shearn, a former Trenton bureau chief, says suburban coverage is in peril: “The bureaus are decimated. They are going to have to decide where to put their energy.”

Anne-Marie Cottone, assistant features editor and a 35-year veteran who took the buyout, says, “I am really wondering what is going to happen.”

Editor Jim Willse has the burden of figuring that out. He cites recent Star-Ledger innovations such as an increase in online video and the recent launch of the paper’s new monthly magazine, Inside Jersey. But Mary Yanni, the launch editor of Inside Jersey, is among those taking the buyout.

New Jersey is particularly reliant on newspapers for information because it has no major television or radio market. Weeklies can provide local news and are well-positioned to do so in the future, along with a growing, though uneven, online news presence. But, experts and longtime journalists agree, slashing the daily newspapers makes the future of New Jersey news coverage uncertain.

“There will be a net loss, in many ways, for New Jersey,” says John Pavlik, a Rutgers University journalism professor. “It is especially acute here because so many states have a strong television presence and New Jersey does not.”

Pavlik says local coverage, daily news, and investigative reporting are key areas that will be lost. “Local government, council meetings, school board meetings—there won’t be resources to report on that,” he says. “More serious is investigative; stories that take time to do, digging through records, that takes a team to dig out.”

Steve Adubato, a presence on several cable and public television shows and a columnist for a number of publications (including New Jersey Monthly), agrees: “The downside is the investigative pieces, the in-depth reporting, suffers.”

New Jersey news coverage likely will not be getting much help from across the Hudson River. The New York Times, which long had a substantial New Jersey base including Trenton staffers, now has just one: David Kocieniewski. The paper declines to reveal its specific cutbacks, but several staffers indicate it no longer has a Trenton or Newark office. A spokesperson says in a statement: “Our New Jersey weekly section has a columnist assigned to New Jersey and offers weekly coverage, as well as a variety of listings and reviews. And all of our beat reporters—on immigration, the environment, the economy—are responsible for identifying major stories from their beats in New Jersey.”

But that is still not the same as having reporters full-time in the state. The weekly New Jersey section—which runs on Sunday—has not been all-Jersey for more than a year, serving instead as a regionalized weekly that includes other tristate news.

Across the state, the Philadelphia Inquirer intends to remain strong in South Jersey, according to editor Bill Marimow, a former Baltimore Sun editor who joined that paper in 2006. He says the Inquirer still boasts two people in Trenton, as well as several staffers in bureaus in Cherry Hill, Camden, Atlantic City, and Burlington and Gloucester counties. “Each day, we are trying to have New Jersey on the front page,” he says. “The coverage is much more visual and deeper and broader than when I got here.”

A recent South Jersey edition had no Garden State news on page one, but a teaser along the top noted an inside story on New Jersey’s pension shortfall. Inside, the eight-page New Jersey section filled its opening page with New Jersey stories ranging from prison gang members to new legislation tightening penalties for unsafe day-care centers. But most of the section included non-New Jersey articles, obituaries, and weather.

While most of the New York-based television stations have not cut their New Jersey reporters, they have only one or two bodies in the state. New Jersey has long had three dedicated television news outlets, but one of those, Comcast’s CN8 channel, was shuttered at the end of 2008. Cablevision-owned News 12 suffers from lack of exposure on non-Cablevision systems, and public station New Jersey Network is facing funding uncertainties and recently lost its executive director, Elizabeth Christopherson.

“There is no question that, as we go through this wrenching change in the news business, you have to wonder what information people are going to be able to get and how important it is going to be,” says Brian Thompson, a ten-year New Jersey reporter for WNBC-TV and one of two in its Moonachie office. “Casual news viewers are not getting a full plate of TV news. When you cut back their newspapers, they aren’t exposed to as much as folks in other states.”

The Associated Press still has five bureaus with seventeen staffers, according to its website. Trenton-based interim bureau chief Andrew Fraser declines comment. While AP remains robust in the state, consumers generally rely on newspapers and websites to see AP stories.

It was just four years ago that the Star-Ledger had its most notable journalistic triumph, earning a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of Governor Jim McGreevey’s bombshell resignation announcement on August 12, 2004. That was the second Pultizer in the paper’s history, coming four years after photographer Matt Rainey won for a photo of students burned in the Seton Hall fire, coverage that also earned the paper a finalist nomination in breaking news the same year.

The Star-Ledger is not alone in enjoying some glorious moments in recent years. The Asbury Park Press led the way on investigations of the state’s infamous pay-to-play practices, including a much-heralded series in 2003. And the most famous photo of September 11, 2001, continues to be the Iwo Jima-like shot of firefighters raising the American Flag in lower Manhattan, snapped by Thomas Franklin of the Record.
But those glory days seem like distant history. Star-Ledger circulation is at its lowest point in decades. Some in the company claim annual losses have reached $40 million.

The declines spurred the call for job cuts and union concessions. By the end of October, the Teamsters and the Newspaper and Mail Deliverers Union, which represented about 90 drivers, had approved new deals, while more than 230 nonunion workers had put in for buyouts.

Star-Ledger editor Willse agrees the downturn is difficult but not a complete surprise. “We got caught in the same combination of forces that everybody else got caught in,” he says. “It is a bad economy, there is an erosion of some advertising, some related to the Internet. A newspaper company our size got caught in the plague. There is not an awful lot that is unique to this paper that has not hit other newspapers.” Among those are the Gannett papers, which have slashed 3,000 newspaper jobs nationwide since August, including those 200-plus at its New Jersey dailies, which also include the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, the Daily Record in Parsippany, and the Daily Journal in Vineland.

The Gannett departures include Charles Paolino, the former executive editor of the Home News Tribune and the Courier News. Interviewed before exiting his post, Paolino described some of the ways the papers are learning to adjust.

“We reexamined our priorities and rearranged staffing, but I don’t think we missed a beat,” said Paolino, who has been in New Jersey news since 1965. “A lot of times if you reexamine what you are doing, you can do it with less.”

Paolino pointed to the website of the papers, noting that the credibility of newspapers and the immediacy of the web is a powerful combination.

Gannett’s New Jersey papers have taken advantage of a nationwide Gannett edict launched several years ago to focus on breaking news and online information through what the company calls “information centers.” The approach includes having online news, traffic, and other happenings as early as 5 am each day. The papers have also been pioneers in posting public records, ranging from state employees’ salaries to links to registered sex-offender listings.

At the Record and Herald News, executives say the shift to remote reporting should improve, not hamper, news coverage. “Our Bergen County reporting efforts will continue to be the Record’s top priority,” says Stephen Borg, president of North Jersey Media Group and publisher of the Record. “The news is not in our building, but out on the streets. As such, we are arming our editorial staffers with many tools to report from the field. This is no different from how television stations have done it for many, many years with their remote vans.”

Borg, son of legendary North Jersey Media chairman Malcolm Borg, declined to cite specifics on job cuts or consolidation, but noted in a statement: “Cutting our newsroom expense is not part of our growth strategy. We have made reductions because we were inefficient. One such example is copy-editing. We were copy-editing AP stories that come to us already edited. The Record and Herald News were both copy-editing the same stories from Clifton and other places where these two papers share resources. Getting rid of these inefficiencies and others is simply sound business. But cutting our newsroom to save expenses is not our growth strategy.”

Other smaller, local dailies such as the New Jersey Herald in Newton say they are not being hit as badly—although they have hardly escaped the current economic slump. Bruce Tomlinson, general manager of the Herald, says, “It cannot do anything but hamper or hurt the amount of and probably the credibility of news.”

Weeklies remain the main source for local news, although most are still on a once-a-week news cycle. In some areas, websites are creeping into the local news business.