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Do The Numbers Add Up?

If you look at the fine print at the bottom of Page 2 of the East Bay Expresses it informs would be advertisers that they are members of the Audit Bureau of Circulation.  This means that when the East Bay Express tells an advertiser that their rates are based on a print run of 50,000 (currently correct), that this statement has been independently audited and can be relied upon as accurate. 

All reputable newspapers submit their print run claims to independent audit.  The Berkeley Daily Planet does not.

The Daily Planet tells would be advertisers that their print run is 19,000.  Their rate card lists prices that are only slightly lower than those of the East Bay Express.  Accepting their 19,000 figure as accurate, Daily Planet advertisers pay a huge premium on a per reader basis.  Maybe this explains why there is so little advertising in the Daily Planet.

But is the print run really 19,000?  Take a look around Berkeley on any Thursday morning, just after the Daily Planet is hot off the press.  You will find empty boxes filled with garbage (here we mean real garbage, as in dripping coffee cups and fast food wrappers), empty boxes that are not yet filled with garbage, and boxes holding a small fraction of their total capacity of about 150 copies. See here.

So is the given figure of 19,000 accurate?  There is no audit, so we only have publisher Michael O’Malley’s word for it.  It would seem possible that a fraud is being perpetrated upon the Daily Planet’s very few advertisers.

Enquiring minds would like to know.


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