newspapers and journalism

apparently someone in our office reads business in vancouver, as it came in the mail with a magazine of lists. there are lists for everything imaginable, but the one that caught my eye was for biggest newspapers in the vancouver area. they listed the top 20 vancouver area newspapers (by circulation), and here are the highlights with a few notes below.

newspaper circulation paid/free # employees
vancouver sun 203,101 (daily avg) paid 1,000 (pacific newspaper group inc.)
province 167,565 (daily avg) paid 1,000 (pacific newspaper group inc.)
vancouver courier 132,650 free 41
georgia straight 120,000 free 60
now newspaper 110,000 free 40
surrey/north delta leader 82,300 free np (40 last year)
north shore news 64,255 free 79
newsleader 61,863 free 15
the now 52,500 free np (last year 25)
tri-city news 52,296 free 65
north shore outlook 50,279 free np
burnaby now 49,000 free 26 last year
westender 46,250 free 17
globe and mail 48,245 (m-f)
68,763 (sat)
paid 30
richmond news 46,137 free 16
national post 45,923 (m-f)
46,611 (sat)
paid 7
richmond review 45,500 free 32
abbotsford news 44,223 free 125 fte
abbotsford times 42,175 free 26
advance news 38,750 free 20

and now for some basic observation:

  • of the 20 papers listed, only 4 have paying readers
  • 11 of the papers are owned by canwest global communications corp.
  • 7 of the papers are owned by black press
  • the 2 remaining papers owned by vancouver free press corp. and bellglobe media
  • 6 of the papers have less employees than they did last year, 3 have more, and the rest were the same or didn’t report
  • the national post dropped 6 positions from last year, while the globe and mail dropped 5. the paper rankings are based on circulation, so it appears canadians are reading the ‘national’ papers less. my guess is that they go online for this info. or they get enough canwest reprint in the local rags so they don’t bother with a national.
  • there are probably many other observations the acute could draw, but i am not on the ball this morning.

my conclusion is that i would never, ever get into journalism. i’ve met a few journalists and none of them seem very happy. the newspaper business has too many power games, too few resources, and too much frustration.

and the jschools keep pumping these poor kids out at a steady clip.

journalism is a profession that has many similarities to the tech industry. tim bray posted some interesting comments lately, and i think there are strong parallels.