The circulation of the News Journal dropped dramatically between 2013 and 2015, figures from the Alliance for Audited Media indicate. Figures from last year from the Alliance indicate weekday circulation of the Delaware newspaper and digital property fell below 61,000, with the Sunday figure dropping below the 100,000 mark.
The average daily print circulation of the News Journal, in 2014 was 72,000, compared to the 2009 figure of 84,000, the report indicated.
Figures from 2007, show the extent of the decline for The News Journal, with daily circulation of 114,000 and more than 130,000 on Sunday.
The News-Journal and other newspapers point to the strength of their digital operations that reach many of the state’s households.
The challenge has been growing digital revenues fast enough to counter the effects of a drop in display advertising and readership.
News Journal parent Gannett has vowed to increase print circulation revenues and pushed through rate increases that include added charges for big editions like Thanksgiving.
The News Journal also operates a paywall that limits the number of monthly views by nonsubscribers. The strategy is defended by some as necessary in finding revenues to pay for its operations.
Others point to the risk of permanently turning away nonsubscribers who will seek news elsewhere.
The long-running revenue decline has led to a sharp drop in the size of the newsgathering and business sides of the business, including the loss of most of its veteran reporters to an early retirement-buyout package last year ordered by Gannett.
The total newsroom staff has fallen to about four dozen down by more than half from the figure in past years.
The News Journal is not alone in experiencing the drop in circulation as readers and advertisers move online.
The nearby Philadelphia Inquirer saw its circulation decline from 185,00 to 138,000 from 2013 to 2015. Circulation in the 1960s was more than 600,000.