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Friday AM December 4th, 2009

With newspaper ad revenue and circulation dropping, the business journals are telling their readers things are fine in the 40 markets where it appears. Ed Mayberry reports.


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Houston Business Journal LogoAverage weekday circulation fell 10.6 per cent during the six months ending in September—the steepest decline ever recorded by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.  But Houston Business Journal Publisher John Beddow says it’s a bit different with their weekly, and they’re telling readers about it.

“We get asked around, all over the country — all our publishers do — you know, ‘how (are) we doing?’  A lot of people read these stories about the daily newspaper business and how they’re losing readers, and contrary to that, American City Business Journals circulation’s grown this year.  To answer these questions, all 40 Journals are going to be running a four-page wrapper that will be part of every Journal that gets mailed out and distributed.”

Ad sales at dailies have declined year-over-year for 13 straight quarters.  Beddow says the four-page wrapper talks of the loyal readership that remains with the weekly business newspaper.

“The advertising generally comes back when the economy picks up.  But the readership—if you lose that, that is the core of your business, because we’re niche media and because we, you know, we do have this very loyal readership base that likes what we do, pays for the subscription.  We’re not part of that daily newspaper demise that you read about all the time.” 

Advertising revenue at daily newspapers dropped 28 per cent in the third quarter compared to the same time last year, according to the Newspaper Association of America.  

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