You Say You Want a Regulation


For years, one of the most open secrets in journalism has been that publishers lie compulsively to advertisers and investors about their circulation figures. Earlier this year, this practice erupted into a full-blown scandal. And now, the Security and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation. Bad time to own newspaper stock.


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  1. Main stream media lying about its business?

    How can thay be?

    Aren’t they the arbiters of truth and honesty?

    Aren’t they the ones complaining about independently monitored blogs who have no reviewers checking facts?

  2. Begging the obvious question:

    What is Reason’s circulation and how can I verify it as fact?

  3. Sort of odd, isn’t it, that there weren’t whistleblowers along the way? Or, maybe there were, I don’t know. But an underlying question might be why informed journalists were at peace with the situation. I smell a double standard someplace.

  4. Surely major advertisers have ways of measuring what they’re buying. Surely I’m not losing any sleep on their behalf.

  5. Let the buyer beware, then? The SEC won’t likely let it go at that. “Major advertisers” aren’t the only ones affected.

  6. Curtis,
    It’s the case of the happy-go-lucky frog in the bottom of the pot being brought to a very slow boil.
    Or the slow “inflation” practiced by real estate appraisers.
    And what about those Wall Street “customs” Google was just trying so intelligently to rectify? Did Google leave some money on the table or what? Who got it?
    Where are the whistleblowers?
    Here on H&R.
    Blowing about everything until our cheeks are about to pop!

  7. That explains it.

    Our local newspaper market has two competing newspapers that share printing and circulation departments. I cancelled my subscription with one of the papers, but I periodically get the other paper thrown onto my doorstep. Usually, every two or three months. I don’t have a nearby neighbor who subscribes to the newspaper, so it is hard to blame it on an errant paper toss.

    The newspaper’s owner, Dean Singleton, certainly knows how to play the circulation game. Am I receiving a free paper each quarter so he can count me in his circulation figures? It wouldn’t surprise me.

    I also receive a magazine that I have never ordered. I’ve always suspected that they send it to me to inflate their circulation numbers and maybe this proves it. They certainly make more money from advertising dollars than they would lose in gratis subscriptions that keep circulation numbers in a range that keeps advertisers happy.

  8. Ray D.,
    Brace yourself for a stern lecture from Nick Gillespie.
    What applies to Oprah’s magazine doesn’t apply to Reason.

    Oprah’s was the one to which you was ah referring?

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