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Weekend circulation jumps for the Trib

| Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2006

Weekend circulation at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Tribune-Review in Greensburg rose during the six-month period that ended Sept. 30, compared to figures from the previous year, the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations data shows.

Saturday circulation at the paper was the big gainer, climbing a strong 8 percent to 113,218. Sunday circulation rose 0.2 percent to 158,001. Weekday sales fell 2 percent to 100,478.

"Circulation numbers nationwide were all over the place, with large drops at some papers and some increases at others, so we're very pleased that we pretty much bucked the trend," said Ralph Martin, CEO of the Tribune-Review Publishing Co. "Our overall modest increase shows the attention we are paying to circulation and our circulation efforts."

Martin said lower circulation at many newspapers nationwide reflects the ongoing purge of what's known in the business as bulk, free or third-party sales. Often distributed to schools, hotels, hospitals and other public places, those copies aren't as valuable to advertisers as traditional circulation.

Tribune-Review Publishing also publishes the Valley News Dispatch in Tarentum, the Leader Times in Kittanning, the Daily Courier in Connellsville, the Valley Independent in Monessen and 17 weekly newspapers under Gateway Publications. Total circulation is 168,000 daily and 188,000 Sunday. The Gateway newspapers have 72,000 paid readers weekly.

The circulation news was not as positive at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where sales dropped in all three categories. The largest percentage drop was in Sunday sales, down 10 percent to 354,966. Saturday circulation dropped 9 percent to 197,889, while Monday-through-Friday sales fell 8 percent to 212,075. A spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Nationwide, daily circulation fell 2.8 percent for all newspapers, while Sunday circulation fell 3.4 percent in the same six-month period, according to the Newspaper Association of America's calculations of Audit Bureau data.

Gannett Co.'s USA Today remained the top-selling newspaper in the country with average paid circulation of 2,269,509, down 1.3 percent from the year-earlier period.

The Wall Street Journal, published by Dow Jones & Co., kept its No. 2 spot at 2,043,235, down 1.9 percent. The New York Times was third with circulation of 1,086,798, down 3.5 percent.

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