Friday, December 01, 2006

Mea culpa

I am embarassed to admit that yes, I did indeed quote circulation figures to refute Polly's claim about readers.  Mea culpa. I was wrong.

Readership figures for most major newspapers can be found here.  I do not have time right now to re-do the calculations, bu suggestions in the comments of previous posts suggest that the 40% figure is still wrong, but not as wrong as I claimed.  (I would note that the NMA site does not include figures for the FT, the Scotsman or Herald, though of course this is unlikely to affect the outcome significantly.)

Thank you to those who pointed out the error, and thanks to everyone who thinks that factual accuracy is necessary for credibility.

UPDATE

Once again, thank you to everyone who pointed out that when I took Polly to task for saying that Murdoch owned more than 40% of the press readership in this country, I used circulation rather than readership. 

The readership data from the Newspaper Marketing Agency's website seem to look like this for daily papers:

Daily Mail

5,260,000

20%

Standard

794,000

3%

Daily Express

1,760,000

7%

Daily Star

1,498,000

6%

Guardian

1,171,000

4%

Independent

769,000

3%

Daily Mirror

3,652,000

14%

The Times

1,781,000

7%

The Sun

7,806,000

29%

The Telegraph

2,002,000

8%

Total

26,493,000

100%

 

And like this for the Sundays:

 

Mail on Sunday

6,161,000

20

Sunday Express

1,980,000

6

Daily Star Sunday

913,000

3

The Observer

1,471,000

5

Independent on Sunday

762,000

2

Sunday Mirror

4,123,000

13

The People

1,874,000

6

The Sunday Times

3,532,000

11

News of the World

8,242,000

27

Sunday Telegraph

1,867,000

6

Total

30,925,000

100

 

In summary, therefore, News International accounts for 36.2% of the readership of the dailies and 38.1% for the Sundays, or 36.46% on a weighted average basis.  Polly claimed it was over 40%, I claimed it was 32%.  It is interesting that the truth lies almost exactly in the middle.  (Though these figures do exclude the FT, the Scotsman or Herald, and the multitude of local papers -- which would tend to lower the actual figure.)

I am, of course, embarassed to have made the mistake.  As a result, I remain convinced that citing sources is helpful when writers quote figures -- apart from anything it helps the reader to check what they are reading. 

2 comments:

Not Saussure said...

Admit it. You did it on purpose so you could deliver an object lesson to Polly on the prompt correction of factual errors and also as a demonstration of Cleanthes' thesis, à propos the Press Complaints Commission director's idea that blogs need a voluntary code of conduct similar to that of the PCC, that bloggers tend to handle corrections far better than do the print and broadcast media.

FactcheckingPollyanna said...

Not Saussure --

I wish I were smart enough to have thought of that. The truth is sadly more mundane...