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Circulation figures confirm the future is online, it's local and it's in the long tail - chapter II

Those of you who've read this blog for a while might remember the main part of this headline from last year. This weekend, financial daily Dagen's Naeringsliv (DN) ran a story on how the trend I described then, was pretty much repeated for the first half of 2008.

The article said the circulation figures for Norways's biggest newspapers were continuing to fall, led by the country's two biggest tabloids - causing some of these paper's execs to say they'd stopped hoping for the trend to turn - while local newspapers recorded slightly improved circulation figures (a trend we've seen for many years now) and niche publications like DN were bucking the downwards trend spectacularly.

The only catch here is that I forgot my edition of DN in Oslo yesterday, and the article is not available online other than as a Pdf behind a pay wall. I could perhaps access it there if I had patience to wait for it to load with my slow connection here on the road, but I find it kind of useless to link to something that's so difficult to access in the first place.

I was half expecting one of the country's media sites to have published something on this article today, as they often do - just to give their readers the full overview of what's happening in the media world - but no such luck. Normally, they dutifully copy-paste and/or rewrite a paragraph or two, a grateful task often rewarded with the online traffic DN has renounced by filling its online media section with wire stories. This complete separation between print and online, however, is often referred to by DN's management as a reason why the print paper is bucking the downwards trend both qua circulation and profits.

Too me, as a blogger, it means they've cut themselves off from the world. I like the paper, it's one of my favourite weekend reads - but I never blog about the DN stories I like (or dislike) because of the Pdf/paywall thing.

Equally, on the occasions I've been commissioned to write for them, I've found the gap between the space and time in which they move, where an op-ed can be published weeks after it's submitted and still be considered newsworthy, and the online world in which I move, where the same analysis can be ancient news in the space of a day, exasperating. I do, as I said, like this remarkably well-staffed paper, though I must admit I'm sometimes baffled by the news judgements this protected print environment throws up - but I guess print just has a different sell-by-date.

As a media journalist, I even subscribe to the RSS-feed of DN's media section, but the wire stories there, when they are media stories and not just mistagged stories from other sections of the news site, won't help me much with the story on circulation figures, which is excusive to print and Pdf. And since I've got my head buried in deadlines, and only a slow and fragile internet connection to assist me, I'll be so lazy as to leave the story there. It's a success story for DN of course, as I can imagine the Scandinavians among you will get on the phone for one of those Pdf subscriptions and the full circulation story first thing tomorrow...    



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