Hmmm. In the U.S., just about the only papers that are growing are New York’s tabs, the Post and Daily News. But in the U.K., it’s the tabloid (“red tops,” they’re called) are the ones taking the meanest hit in newspapers’ circulation decline (News of the World down 300,000 copies!). Wonder Why. In the Independent, Peter Cole speculates on the reason for the decline over there:
Why should the mass circulation papers be the ones suffering most? Aren’t their readers less likely to be migrating to the web? Young readers and newspapers tend to avoid each other, but this is probably more evident at the red-top end of the market. The diet of celebrity is available elsewhere; sport is better treated on the web; sex coverage, whether it is Page Three, kiss-and-tell or scandal in high places, seems tired. We either fail to be shocked or feel increasingly uncomfortable about press intrusion into private lives.
In the U.S., I think, it’s just that most newspapers are dull and the tabs are practically the only ones with a recognizable voice. Maybe. And in the U.K., I think there may be a few obvious angles: first, the growth of free papers and the fact that after the quality papers shrunk to new formats, they were suddenly just as convenient for a subway read as the tabs. In the U.K, they seem to assume that no one of the higher class would ever read the red tops. Here, the Post is read by everybody.
: In the Observer, Peter Preston covers a success story: the resurrection of the FT into a growing, profitable paper.