Daily circulation at The State newspaper in Columbia has fallen below 100,000, possibly for the first time since the 1960s, according to the most recent information released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
For the six months ended March 31, The State had an average daily circulation of 96,737, down 4 percent from a year ago, The Charlotte Observer reported Tuesday.
According to “Palmettos and Oaks: A Centennial History of The State,” the paper’s circulation first broke 100,000 in 1967 and does not appear to have dipped back below that mark until the most recent six-month period.
The State’s Sunday circulation suffered even more, falling 12 percent, to 122,539, the Audit Bureau of Circulations reported.
By comparison, the paper’s daily circulation was nearly 140,000 and Sunday circulation topped 160,000 approximately 20 years ago, shortly after it merged with The Columbia Record.
The past year has not been an easy one for The State. In March, it announced its second round of layoffs in less than year, cutting 11 percent of its workforce – 38 positions – and implementing wage reduction of between 2.5 percent and 10 percent for the rest of its employees.
Other major Carolinas’ papers also saw sharp circulation declines for the six months ended March 31:
- The Charleston Post and Courier saw a 4 percent drop in daily circulation, to 96,005, and a 4 percent drop in Sunday circulation, to 106,192.
- The Charlotte Observer lost a staggering 11 percent of its daily circulation, to 187,633.
- The Raleigh News & Observer’s daily circulation also fell 11 percent, to 156,909.
The Charlotte paper tried to put a good spin on the most recent numbers by pointing out that the combined print/online index – which reflects traffic to the newspaper’s Web site – was up 8 percent year to year to 1.07 million.
The index measures the combined audience of the newspaper over a seven-day period and the past 30 days of unique visitors to the paper’s website. Charlotte ranked eighth highest in growth in the nation in the combined index, the paper reported.
While newspaper circulation has largely been falling in the Carolinas and across the nation for some time, at least some of the decline can be attributed to papers dropping delivery to outlying areas.
Sacramento-based McClatchy Co., which owns The State, The Charlotte Observer, The Raleigh News & Observer, The Rock Hill Herald, The Myrtle Beach Sun News, The Hilton Head Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette, reported advertising revenues off 31 percent at its Southeast newspapers in the first quarter, The Charlotte Observer reported.
As General Motors prepares to offer the Treasury Department more than 50 percent of its stock to absolve itself of $10 billion in government loans, it seems difficult to believe that this is the same company that decades ago made one of every two cars sold in the US.
The automaker has also proposed that the United Auto Workers take GM stock for at least half the $20 billion the company owes to a union-run trust that will assume retiree health care expenses starting next year, The Associated Press reported.
Combined, the union and government would own 89 percent of the century-old automaker, which has been bleeding red ink and is saddled with more than $62 billion in debt, according to The Associated Press.
This comes as GM announced it will eliminated its storied Pontiac brand after more than 80 years. The move comes just five years after General Motors phased out its Oldsmobile brand.
Fewer marque brands and tacit nationalization; William Durant must be rolling over in his grave.
Tidelands Bancshares’ losses during the first quarter of 2009 nearly tripled from the previous year, to $630,000 from $233,000, the company reported.
The Mount Pleasant, SC-based company attributed the difference largely to the fact that subsidiary Tidelands Bank had to set aside $2.1 million for potential loan losses.
Tidelands’ total nonperforming assets increased to $20.8 million at the end of first quarter 2009 from $1.7 million a year earlier, according to information filed with The Securities and Exchange Commission. Nonaccrual loans jumped to $16.9 million from $1.6 million during the same period.
Curiously, Tidelands’ shares jumped nearly 30 percent Monday, up 89 cents to $3.90.
Richard Goldthwaite has written an interesting book on Renaissance Florence, which enjoyed a reputation as a center of European trade and finance, particularly after the middle of the 14th Century.
“(Florence’s) principal resource was the river, the fast-flowing Arno, which provided power and water for industry and access to the sea for imports and exports,” according to the review. “But an even greater source of strength was the enterprise and ingenuity of its merchants, who set about transforming a healthy local wool industry into an international business by importing large quantities of better-quality wool, from England and later Spain, to manufacture the fine, light worsted woollen cloth that was in demand all over Europe.”
The new-found wealth of Florentines brought with it a desire to show off the fruits of their labor, according to The Economist:
“They certainly knew how to spend. In Renaissance Florence greed was good. The rich lavished their wealth on luxury goods for their palazzos, and on shameless dressing up. This encouraged an outburst of great work by artisan painters, sculptors, architects and decorators. The art market in Florence at that time was not as big as in Antwerp and Bruges, and there were only a third as many painters as in Bruges. Florentine artists were kept busy by local commissions. There was, however, a trickledown effect on taste which created a market for inferior art from the Low Countries. A 16th-century art historian, Giorgio Vasari, remarked that ‘there was not a shoemaker’s house in the city that did not have a Flemish painting.’”
Today, four centuries after Florence’s role as the pre-eminent hub of European finance began to wane, its beauty remains, a testament to the vibrancy of the early capitalism practiced by many of its Renaissance-era residents.