Jim Romenesko's media news Web site has long since turned into a cascade of bad news about the newspaper business - contributing to low morale in many a newsroom. So it's almost newsworthy that the site has linked to an article that says newspaper circulation is up.Globally, that is. Sacramento Bee public editor Armando Acua writes:"Last month, the World Association of Newspapers, which represents 18,000 papers across the globe, released its little-noticed annual report at its meeting in Goteborg, Sweden.Its conclusion, which sounds like heresy around these parts, is that `newspapers are a growth business,' with worldwide circulation growing by almost 3 percent last year, while at the same time significantly expanding their online audience.And, as important, advertising revenue at paid dailies was up too, at 1 percent from a year earlier and 13 percent over the last five years.And so it is good to read in the association's study that newspaper circulation is rising or stable in three-quarters of the world's countries. What the report doesn't answer is whether we are ahead of the curve in the U.S. (and parts of western Europe) because of technological advantage - or if this is another example of how we are falling behind. Or perhaps both.
Paul Moses, a contributing writer at Commonweal, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009) and An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians (NYU Press, 2015). Follow him on Twitter @PaulBMoses.