I’m not sure what the demographic is. My assumption has always been it is businesses and elderly who still have a subscription. Below you will see a memo sent to the city council (they have to designate the paper, the official paper of the city for legal notices on Tuesday night). With a city of 178K and over 60K households, the circulation numbers are not exactly stellar (19,568 weekdays and 31,468 on Sundays). Compare that to Yankton with a pop of 14K and circulation of 7,300 or Mitchell with a population of 15K and circulation of 9,400 or Aberdeen with a pop of 26K and a circulation of 10,700, and it seems the small town papers have more support.

8 Thoughts on “Who reads the Argus Leader?

  1. Larry on June 4, 2017 at 12:13 pm said:

    The verdict is in. The data validates what the feeling on the street has been for some time; that the Argus is in a death spiral. The irony is it’s largely by their own hand.

  2. The D@ily Spin on June 4, 2017 at 1:11 pm said:

    The Argus was known for city subscriptions and sales but also major state circulation. What happened? With the internet, it’s hard to sell newspapers. The city gets to choose for legal ads. There will be court case challenge citing inferior notice. Is it time to mandate legals in the Shopping News? The Argus carefully favors the city with editorials. Indeed, some reporters write propaganda. I don’t take it because Super Market tabloids are more interesting and honest.

  3. l3wis on June 4, 2017 at 1:50 pm said:

    Notice if you follow the SDNA link above, the AL has their circulation listed at 26K, that number has to be from the last year, so there circulation dropped 7K in one year?

  4. Sandman on June 4, 2017 at 2:20 pm said:

    The good people of SD know a fraud when they see one and the Argus has been revealed for what it has become. You reap what you sow.

  5. Warren Phear on June 5, 2017 at 7:02 am said:

    KELO gives us the corporate message via Sanford. KSFY the same, thru Avera. Turn on your radio and know Limbaugh makes 50 million a year to spew his hate. Same for hannity. Listen to belfrage for a week. Then you will know why we all need to support our local newspaper.

  6. As a former child paper carrier for the Argus Leader I have followed their spiral for years with a sadness. I loved newspapers, the feeling of holding one, to study the word play and the internal mind games we go through as we read.

    I’m sure if the Argus wanted to regain a foothold with the public they would rethink an unthinkable. The number one reason the listed newspapers still have a readership is first and foremost the obituaries. People read the obits to make sure they aren’t in there and second to see who is.

    The Argus Leader changed their policy of free insertion to a (if my memory is right) 5 line per inch, no abbreviation in 3 inches for $35.00 to a program now of simple deceased name. I helped a family last year with a funeral and the obituary was going to be over $1,800, they didn’t do it.

    A large local funeral home couldn’t afford to pay thousands for the corner ad they used to run so they quit.

    As the obituary policy changed, the coverage region really began to shrink because the small towners who used to by the paper to check the obits didn’t see their last claim to fame, the obituary.

    The Yankton, Mitchell, Brookings and other newspapers might still be understanding what causes the regional readers to keep buying the paper from them. Will the Argus Leader keep trying to squeeze money out of fewer and fewer obits at the cost of the complete paper? Most likely. When we wanted to place an obit several years ago I asked about the Argus Leaders policy decision and why they have it, the answer came back “Obituaries are advertising to raise money for the family, so it is an ad.”

    As much as I still believe in local newspapers, the policy of milking a grieving family does not sit well with many families who would still buy the paper.

  7. hornguy on June 5, 2017 at 11:39 am said:

    That your local paper sucks is a total chicken/egg issue. Investigative journalism is expensive, and the reality is, most people are too cheap to pay for it. And so papers revert to doing human interest stuff and puff pieces masquerading as news because they’re cheaper and less labor intensive to produce.

    That Gannett hired Chris Davis last year to oversee investigative reporting last summer is promising – kind of a surprise for Gannett, really. But I’d imagine it’ll take awhile for his plans to trickle down to Gannett’s smallest papers, which at this point are likely too understaffed to do meaningful investigative work.

    But conversely, one can also look at it this way. Pierre’s been crooked as hell for years as the result of single-party rule, there’s been sufficient coverage of what’s gone on for a reasonable person to figure out what the score is, and every cycle, more and more South Dakotans stick their head in the sand when casting their ballots. Sometimes people get the kind of world they deserve.

    Want a state that’s governed better? At this point, the only way to get that is probably to move.

  8. Now it’s 20k so the fall continues.

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