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Huge circulation drops for Gannett NJ papers, audit shows

Bergen Record down 38% in two years

By David Wildstein, November 29 2019 4:27 pm

Nine New Jersey-based Gannett daily newspapers experienced double-digit drops in circulation since 2017, with more than half of them below the national average, according to data filed with the Alliance for Audited Media and reported by the Boston Business Journal.

Of the nineteen weekly newspapers owned by Gannett, just two have experienced losses in circulation of less than 10%.

The biggest circulation drop is at The (Bergen) Record, where subscriptions have dropped from 76,402 to 47,258 over the last two years.   That reflects a 38.1% decrease.

The Record had daily circulation of 136,074 and 171,744 on Sundays at the end of 2015, one year before the Borg family sold the newspaper to Gannett.

The Courier Post has dropped 38%, followed by circulation decreased by the Burlington County Times (35.1%), Home News Tribune (34.2%), Asbury Park Press (32.9%), Herald News (31.7%), Daily Journal (25.9%), Daily Record (24.9%), Courier-News (24%).

Suburban Trends, the flagship Wednesday and Sunday local newspaper, has watched its circulation plummet by 60%.

Weekly newspapers are getting killed as well.

The Montclair Times is down 39.3% and The Item of Millburn and Short Hills has dropped 30.7%.   The Nutley Sun, the bible of New Jersey’s quintessential swing town before Frank Orechio sold it to the Borg newspapers, is down 35%.

Those trends continue for the Essex County-based Glen Ridge Voice (42.1%), Verona-Cedar Grove Times (40.1%), Bloomfield Life (37.7%), Belleville Times (36.5%).  In Monmouth, The (Neptune) Beacon is down 19% and the Beach Haven Times has dropped 14.6%.

Gannett was sold earlier this month to GateHouse Media and is expected to face about $300 million in budget cuts in it’s massive chain of 260 newspapers.

A Pew Research Foundation study earlier this year found that U.S. print newspapers subscriptions are dropping by an average of 12% annually.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story did not properly credit the Boston Business Journal.  We apologize for this error.

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6 thoughts on “Huge circulation drops for Gannett NJ papers, audit shows

  1. The Bergen Record has made two mistakes one becoming nothing more than a cheerleader for the Democratic party and secondly by raising its price to the point where no one wants to buy a paper for $2.50

  2. Gannett cuts content, changes the editorial page to left-wing bible, & triples the price. No wonder their newspapers are failing.

  3. Still a subscriber but there is very little coverage of the 70 municipalities in “Bergen ” county! There is coverage of Passaic than Bergen ..

  4. The Item of Millburn and Short Hills no longer reflects front page local town news. It has become a paper with more regional news coverage, less town coverage, making it less significant to those residents and businesses in town. The overall number of pages has been reduced significantly, including both editorial coverage and ad pages.

  5. Gannet took quality local papers, cut the knowledgeable staff and turned them into minuscule thin ad rags. Why would people pay for crap? As a former advertiser I pulled my account and told them why. They seemed stunned that I would do that. My response was, “people will not hang around for this garbage. My money is going to where the people are.”

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