HARK, THE HERALD. There's a hilarious piece in this week's New Yorker on how the Herald covered the Democratic National Convention. "If I produced a newspaper as boring as the Globe, I'd kill myself," editorial director Ken Chandler told John Cassidy.
I do want to take issue with one of Cassidy's assertions - that the Herald outsells the Globe in the city. He writes:
Although the Globe is a much bigger, wealthier paper than the Herald, its strength lies in the suburbs. Inside the city limits, the Herald, which has a total circulation of about two hundred and fifty thousand, outsells the Globe on newsstands.
Now, that is absolutely true, but it doesn't tell the whole story. The reason that the Herald outsells the Globe in the city is that so few copies of the Herald are home-delivered. According to the latest numbers from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the Globe's total Monday-through-Friday circulation is 452,109, and on Sunday it's 686,575. By contrast, the Herald's daily number is 248,988, and on Sunday it's just 152,625.
But look at the difference in "single-copy sales," which basically applies to everything that isn't home-delivered. Here the Herald has a huge lead Monday through Friday, beating the Globe by a margin of 171,689 to 82,157. (On Sunday, the Globe actually beats the Herald in single-copy sales, 177,246 to 98,148.)
Do the math. From Monday through Friday, 82 percent of Globe customers get their paper via home delivery, whereas nearly 69 percent of Herald customers are grabbing it at newsstands, from street boxes, at convenience stores, whatever. Obviously a substantial number of Herald customers are suburbanites who get the Globe delivered at home and who then buy a Herald on their way to work. That's why the Herald experiences such a huge dropoff on Saturday (176,454 total, and 120,063 in single-copy sales) and Sunday.
Of course, Cassidy is right when he says that the Globe's focus is more suburban than the Herald's. But the numbers don't tell the whole story.
By the way, Globe columnist Adrian Walker makes what I'm pretty sure is his debut as a Herald critic today. And here is a good piece by Tom Scocca in the New York Observer on how Globe editor Martin Baron hopes the Kerry campaign will raise his paper's national profile.