Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How Low Will They Go?

If News-Press owner Wendy McCaw appeared grumpier than usual when she was spotted yesterday shopping at a local "big box" store with water boy Arthur von Wiesenberger at her side, it was most likely because she had seen the latest newspaper circulation figures which were released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulation.

When the going gets tough, the tough go to Costco.

Although I spent a good portion of Monday evening scouring the web in search of the News-Press' latest numbers, I was unable to find them. But considering how poorly the large dailies of the newspaper industry fared, it cannot bode well for the News-Press.

With the exception of USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, average daily circulation at the top 20 newspapers has declined for the period ending March 31 of this year.

As of November 30, 2007, the News-Press' Monday through Friday circulation was 33,755. So the numbers for the audit period that ended last month figure to be lower than that.

Overall, U.S. newspaper circulation fell 3.6 percent compared with the same period a year earlier.

The New York Times and Los Angeles Times reported declines of 3.9% and 5.1%, respectively.

As soon as I have actual figures for the News-Press, I will post them.

* * *

That was an odd story that appeared on page A3 of Monday's edition of the News-Press. It was about Julianne Hough, two-time winner of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," shooting a music video on a local pier. Only the local pier wasn't Stearns Wharf or even the Goleta Beach Pier. It was the Ventura Pier and the video shoot took place back in March.

Scott Steepleton (aka "Larry The Cable Guy") the paper's associate editor, not only wrote the short article but was credited with taking the accompanying photos. Steepleton is rumored to be a big fan of reality TV.

* * *

Law Week, sponsored by the Santa Barbara County Bar Association, got underway yesterday. The annual event is intended to educate the public and raise awareness about the legal system.

Today, you can head over to the Coffee Cat at Anacapa and Anapamu at noon to have "Java With the Judges." Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Santa Barbara College of Law, I'll be the moderator of a panel discussion on "The 1st Amendment in the Internet Age. The panelists are Jerry Roberts, attorney Michael Cooney, Matt Kettmann of the Santa Barbara Independent and Judge George Eskin of the Santa Barbara Superior Court.

A complete list of Law Week activities and programs can be found in the column on the right hand side of this page.

* * *

And finally, from the L.A. Times' Sunday Travel section review of the Canary Hotel.
The hotel is a good addition to downtown Santa Barbara, and its cozy restaurant will surely continue to draw visitors and residents alike. But this Canary's service has yet to sing.