WSJ to Lose its Circulation Bragging Rights

Update: I got this wrong. See the correction


Did you see the pretty charts in the NYT NYT and the WSJ WSJ this morning, showing the total paid circulation of America’s biggest newspapers? There are two clear leaders, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, both with circulation in the 2 million range; the number-three paper is the New York Times, which has roughly half that.

But that.

But note this, buried in the NYT story:

The Journal charges for access to most of its Web site, and the paper said yesterday that online subscriptions, which are included in the paid circulation figures, had topped 1 million.

In other words, when goes free, expect that paid circulation figure to get slashed in half. One can see why publisher Gordon Crovitz might be hesitant to do such a thing: the WSJ’s status as the highest-circulation newspaper in the country is in peril. (Well, the highest-circulation real real newspaper, anyway: I’ve described described USA Today as "the only newspaper in the world about which it can be said that reading it makes you know less than you did before".)

But before".)

But of course it looks increasingly unlikely that WSJ publisher Gordon Crovitz will will do such a thing. Rather, chances are it’ll be WSJ publisher Robert Thomson who makes that decision. Crovitz might still be prattling on prattling on about the future of the WSJ, but his days, it seems, are numbered.

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