Last Friday I disputed Joshua Benton’s reporting in Nieman Lab on the extent of the decline in paid circulation at USA Today, owned by Gannett. Now Gannett has asked for a correction. I’m sure Gannett would take issue with my reporting as well; as I noted in an update, both Benton and I may have been led astray by the lack of transparency with which Gannett reports its numbers.
In fact, there’s a statement within Gannett’s request for a correction that is just pure gold regarding the circulation figures that it reports to the Alliance for Audited Media: “AAM data is used to help advertisers understand publisher reach in specific markets, not to infer readership or paid circulation.” Huh?
Surely it is news to many of us that terms such as “print readership,” “print and digital readership” and “circulation” ought to be defined by something other than their plain English meaning. In my earlier post, I concluded that it is impossible to know what Gannett’s publicly reported numbers mean. This only confirms it.
2 thoughts on “Gannett seeks correction to Nieman Lab article”
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
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