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Time for another one of those newsy deals without much reporting in them but that you can take to the bank. Let's preface with the bad news first. Circulation at newspapers is still trending downward, as a corporate analyst might say. According to the Sun-Sentinel's Harriet Johnson Brackey, the Newspaper Association of America is reporting that circulation has gone down about three percent nationwide in the six-month period ending in September.

More bad news:

"In the report released Monday, based on figures by the Audit Bureau of Circulations ... The South Florida Sun-Sentinel weekday paid circulation declined 2.2 percent to 222,183 from the same six-month period in 2005. Sunday circulation fell 5.5 percent to 304,841. ... The Miami Herald 's daily circulation fell 8.8 percent to 265,583. Sunday circulation fell 9.8 percent to 361,846. The Palm Beach Post daily circulation fell 0.47 percent to 154,078. Sunday circulation fell 3.4 percent to 184,443."

So all the local dailies are down, with two of them down significantly, and one of them, the Herald, sort of


Now for a bright spot: The Stuart News is one of the few newspapers with an increase in circulation during that period. Or so it might seem. According to a source, editors called a mandatory staff meeting on Monday to announce 10 positions are being cut. They were vacant positions that won't be filled -- including two Martin County reporters, a Fort Pierce reporter, a copy editor and three designers.

Here's what my source posited to the Pulp:

"If a smaller paper is making cuts with positive circ, is it the canary in the coal mine for impending cuts at The Herald, Post, and Sun-Sentinel, which are losing readers?"

And here's the really scary thing: I've heard from two other sources that the Sentinel is about to thin out its staff in a pretty significant way with early retirements and the like.

-- God that last item is depressing. So, to end this thing on a positive note, I want you to check out New Times' music columnist Fats Pompano's new blog. Fats (who is aided by his alter ego, the local writer and musician Jason Budjinski) gets down deep in the "scene," as we call it, and reports with a clear, honest eye on the comings and goings of local bands and national acts scuttling across the South Florida sands. The best thing is he might give you a tip for something to do when you're fucking bored -- and that's as great a public service as there is.

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