Right about now, Wall Street Journal staffers are finishing their Champagne in the newsroom, having toasted themselves over the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation numbers, which plant them at the top of the list of top circulating United States newspapers. They seem to have toppled longtime champ USA Today, whose numbers took a hit when the Marriott Hotel chain stopped their automatic delivery of the paper to each room every morning. Now the Journal’s circulation stands at 2.02 million, having been the only paper in the top 25 to have that number improve. (New owner Rupert Murdoch is no doubt toasting today, too — though likely with a slightly higher grade of bubbly.)
USA Today dropped to 1.88 million. But a rep for USA Today called Politico today to note that the Journal is allowed to count paid online subscriptions, which shouldn’t really count. “As we anticipated, USA Today continues as the nation’s number one newspaper in total print circulation with an estimated lead of more than a quarter million daily print copies above The Wall Street Journal,” the spokesman sneered. Why a weaker online business strategy in times when print is dying is something to boast about, we’re not quite sure.