Research newspaper circs
Last time, we considered where job openings are posted. If some folks browsed the options, they might be understandably confused about which jobs to apply to and what the next step might be.
Now is when a job hunter must do some research. The first questions a job hunter needs answered are simple. We need to know the circulation size and frequency of the newspaper to compare it against what we already know. Often, these answers tell us how well suited we are to compete for the job. If the job is at the same-sized newspaper with the same publishing frequency, there shouldn't be any problem (other than institutional culture variances).
We'll cover this in more detail later, but lets let the big kids, who've played this game a while, get to their new jobs now.
Below are some resources to help job hunters research potential employers. These resources allow applicants to find circulations critical to initial job applicants. Frequently, circulations won't be included in job postings either to allow for a larger pool of applicants or to keep the flood gates from opening.
I'll include this caveat, circulation isn't the holy grail. Many smaller papers consistently provide more space and run better images than some of the gigantic metros. But, it's still good to know approximately what kind of resources a PJ could expect at a new job.
About the newspaper
A good starting place is paper's own Web site. Most newspaper Web sites will have an "about us" or "contact us" section. These areas will often list circulation, a organizational structure, parent companies as well as a little about the area (this is normally on a "working at the ___" page).
Gebbie Press is a resource for PR professionals to approach media. It's also a good resource for PJs to find Web sites of prospective newspapers. It lists links to most daily and weekly newspapers as well as state press associations, magazines and TV stations (under "Media Links" on the top navigation bar).
Newspaper Diversity contains detailed reports for the Knight Foundation on more than 1,400 American newspapers and their circulation areas. It is primarily used for cultural diversity comparisons.
However, it's an excellent way to get useful information about traditional newspapers' approximate circulation, ownership and a comparative ranking against other newspapers. It also lists and ranks the top 200 newspapers by circulation at the time of the last foundation audit (this distinction is good for comparison against more current audits).
Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) contains the audited circulations (raw data) of most newspapers. It also contains information about magazines, business publications and farm publications elsewhere on the site. It is the first and largest non-profit auditor of newspapers in the world.
Advertising rates are frequently established or corrected by the data this organization acquires.
Because it's the most up-to-date public repository of circulation information, the numbers can be compared against Knight Foundation numbers to quickly establish growth or decline trends. The numbers can be overwhelming, but it also gives an apples-to-apples comparison of similar-sized publications.
Enough for now,