Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer alive and well; Newspapers from TV special not so much

The opening sequence of the 1964 Christmas TV special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” features headlines from five newspapers that herald a big winter snowstorm.
We all know that Rudolph went “down in history” for helping Santa Claus deliver toys through that storm. But what about those big city dailies?
They are the Chicago Sun-Times, Daily Mail (U.K.), Daily News (New York), New York Herald Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle.
Here’s a postscript on them:

Chicago Sun-Times

The headline on the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times at the start of the Rudolph special reads: “We’re Frozen.”
I’m sure the newspaper wishes its circulation was frozen too.
Instead the Windy City daily has seen its weekday circulation drop 49% to 275,641 since “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” first aired 45 years ago. Its Sunday circulation is down 63% to 251,260, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
In March, the struggling newspaper filed for bankruptcy protection. In October, Jim Tyree bought the Sun-Times and its 50 suburban Chicago newspapers for $25 million.

Daily Mail

The U.K.’s Daily Mail has a daily circulation today of 2,178,640, down 4% from last year. The Daily Mail looks to be holding up fairly well though. Its circulation was 1.9 million in the early 1980s.

Daily News

In “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” New York’s Daily News flashes the headline “Tough Going! Sanitation Army Digging Us Out.”
It’s been tough going for the Daily News. And the sanitation army isn’t going to be able to dig them out.
The Daily News has seen its weekday circulation fall 75% to 544,167 since “Rudolph” first aired. Sunday circulation is down 81% to 603,671.

New York Herald Tribune

The New York Herald Tribune shut down in 1966.

San Francisco Chronicle

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. But I’m not sure there will be a San Francisco Chronicle much longer.
The newspaper’s circulation fell precipitously after the dot-com bubble burst in 2000. Management has made major cuts in operating costs and newsroom staff since then. The paper has sustained losses in every year since 2001. It lost more than $50 million last year.
The San Francisco Chronicle has a weekday circulation of 251,782, down 27% from 1964 when “Rudolph” debuted. Sunday circulation is 306,705, down 17%.

Maybe someone should call Yukon Cornelius. He might be able to help.

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