Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Truly Desperate

Leave it to Smilin’ Jack Sweeney, publisher and president of Houston’s leading daily newspaper, to once again dig down deep and pull out a shiny nugget of good news from the dark abyss down which his product’s circulation seems to be disappearing.

Sweeney, of course, is renown across Harris County (and parts of Chambers) for his unparalleled ability to declaim long, meaningless passages laden with numbers and newspaper jargon. For some reason his newspaper insists on slapping these fulsome gusts of nouns ’n’ verbs between quotation marks, in violation of the sound journalistic tenet that quotes should be used sparingly, for punctuation or elaboration, and that boilerplate or explanatory information is best taken out of quotes and paraphrased. But check out the verbal dexterity Sweeney demonstrated in explaining that although the Houston Chronicle’s audited circulation did decline 3.6 percent in the six months ending March 30, the “overall reach” of the paper is on the rise:

"On an average Sunday, 1.7 million Houstonians read the paper and on weekdays 1.2 million. Online, HoustonChronicle.com ranked No. 7 among the country's newspapers in monthly page views, averaging 49 million page views and 5.7 million unique visitors each month," he said.
Whew. We’re winded just reading that. But the good news:

"That's more weekly unique visitors than Desperate Housewives TV viewers," Sweeney said.
Well, that's good enough for us.

ADDENDUM: No, actually, it's not. Our sharp-eyed colleague Il Pinguino points out that Sweeney presumably means Desperate Housewives viewers in Houston, as the show attracted a national audience off 22 million or so during its first season. "I guess this was meant for the advertisers," notes Il. Yep, forget the reader---that's the secret of circulation-building!

A more clinical examination from blogHouston, and a self-referential citation ...

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