The daily circulation of the Baltimore Sun, as reported on March 31, 2012, by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, was 195,561.
Forty-one years ago, Editor & Publisher’s annual yearbook reported that this newspaper’s daily circulation, together with the Evening Sun (which was folded on Sept. 15, 1995), was 363,719.
This Sun-shriveling – from 363,000 to 195,000 – came after the 1986 sale of the Sun to the Los Angeles Times-Mirror.
On Feb. 26, 2013, that corporation hired investment bankers to oversee the sale of the Sun and eight other dailies.
From the May 13 edition of Washington’s Weekly Standard came the following:
“Over the past few weeks, there have been rumblings of a potential buyer for the Tribune newspaper company, which owns the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, and a few other notable papers. Given the desperate financial straits of the Tribune Company, this should be good news for journalists who believe in the importance of print media, or are at the very least worried about their jobs.
“Unless, as is the case here, the potential buyers happen to be the Koch brothers, David and Charles, billionaire philanthropists who have spent the last few years being unfairly maligned by the mainstream press, thanks to their patronage of libertarian and right-of-center causes. The Huffington Post reports that Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez asked at a recent awards ceremony held at the Times for a show of hands ‘if you would quit if the paper was bought by the Koch brothers.’ Half the Times staffers reportedly raised their hands. While this is supposed to be a chilling anecdote, … wouldn’t knowing they could easily clear out all of the staff reflexively opposed to them be an incentive for the Kochs to buy the paper? …
“The libertarian Koch brothers aren’t nearly as right-wing as they’re made out to be. But the left has whipped up a frenzy against them in recent years, no doubt hoping to discourage deep-pocketed donors to causes not helpful to their hero in the White House. …
“If the Koch brothers were to buy the Los Angeles Times and get half the staff to quit and the city government to divest its pension funds from the paper in the process, we’re prepared to amend our judgment – that would show that the enterprise still has a healthy future.”
The June issue of Culture and Civilization’s “Press Man” (Andrew Ferguson) noted:
“Maybe, to men who have just dropped $60 million to elect Mitt Romney and other Republicans to national office, the $600 million or more required to buy the Times and the Trib and other wheezing wrecks of a dying industry looks like an investment, at least by comparison. The odds are against it, however. The Times turns a small annual profit, but it is a ghostly apparition of the fat slab of newsprint that once fell with a dull thump on the stoop of every bungalow and ranch house from Glendale to Long Beach.
“In its dilapidation, the Times represents the newspaper business in microcosm, its newsroom staff reduced by two-thirds, its ad sales half of what they were only a decade ago, its digital operation tentative and wobbly, its future filled with every kind of ominous forewarning. … The Newspaper Guild issued a statement ‘asking that the Koch brothers not be allowed to buy the Times.’
“If you don’t know who the Koch brothers are, you can scarcely imagine the alarm that seized Common Cause, Media Matters and other groups that underwrote the ‘Media Reform Summit’ (title: ‘Good Grief: Who’s Going to Cover L.A. News Now?’).”