What is South Carolina’s largest newspaper?

I think most people know I’m not at the Morning News anymore. Currently, I’m living on a mattress on the floor of a room in downtown Columbia, South Carolina.

During my mid-morning break from playing Call of Duty to look for jobs, I came across this. It’s a job listing from The Post and Courier in Charleston – a job listing that makes a pretty mighty claim:

The Post and Courier, South Carolina’s largest newspaper, is seeking an experienced reporter to cover the Boeing Co. and technology…

Wait…didn’t I just read on The State’s website that they were South Carolina’s largest newspaper? Not that who is bigger really matters to me, but my brain just likes to investigate. So I did.

I couldn’t find a circulation estimate on The Post and Courier’s site immediately.

I did find an estimate for The State.The State’s average circulation is 87, 384 during the week and 111,588 on Sundays, according to their About page.

That still didn’t tell me if that was accurate or when the numbers were from. I still needed the numbers for The Post and Courier too.

My first instinct is always to Google. I googled a couple combinations of “Post and Courier” and “circulation,” but didn’t find anything solid.

Next stop, Wikipedia. Would the Post and Courier have their circ info on Wikipedia?

In the early hours of the work week, hundreds of people who start their day while the rest of us are still sleeping deliver 86,064 papers. On Sunday, 94,940. That’s according to Wikipedia. The entry even had a date for the data. It wasn’t the most recent, but it was a good start. I wasn’t going to run with those numbers though.

I scrolled down to the citation at the bottom of the page. The data came from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

That’s those guys that do this:

…provide independent, third-party circulation audits of print circulation, readership and website activity. That data is disseminated into reports and made available in various formats.

An ABC audit is an in-depth examination of a publisher’s records that assures buyers that a publication’s circulation claims are accurate and verifiable.

…ABC’s reports and services are essential for buyers and sellers of print advertising to make informed business decisions.

You can search a few different ways and it seems to be fairly comprehensive. You can search for publications here.

*Journalism Tip: If it deals with numbers, there’s probably some agency who audits it.

The numbers (last calculated Sept. 30, 2010):

The State:                             75, 615 daily average       76,723  Saturday     98,827  Sunday

The Post and Courier         81,743 daily average        78,180 Saturday     91,726  Sunday

Just adding the number, the total for The State is 252,165 and the total for The Post and Courier: 251,649. A difference of only 516. The State for the win!

Well, not quite.

Although The State outsells the Post and Courier on Sundays, by thousands, The Post and Courier outdoes them during the week. Multiplying the daily average by five (Mon-Fri) then adding the Saturday and Sunday figures leads to a different outcome.

553,625 The State.  578621 The Post and Courier. At the end of the week a difference of 24,996.

So if we’re going strictly by the latest circulation numbers, The Post and Courier is the largest paper in South Carolina – unless it’s Sunday – then it’s The Greenville News, who wasn’t even included in this blog originally and has a Sunday circulation of 99,620 [UPDATE 10:51 a.m. Per this tweet.]

Something funny from last night:

twitter conversation

Me and Mark Hamilton, Journalism instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

  1. As a reformed journalist in a statistics class…… I can tell you for sure that I would never do that for a living on a journalism salary. My head would explode and I wouldn’t be able to afford the health care to put the pieces back together.

  2. OMG! I love this blog. You and I are probably the only two who are fascinated by this. Can I run it on my blog? And what are you doing sleeping on a mattress?

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