The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel announced today that its overall circulation has decreased since last year. Here's a link. Although this comes as no surprise, the story notes that this is a trend across the country. Here's my take:
1. The decrease in newspaper circulation certainly feels depressing. Who wants to be a part of what many say is a dying medium? I think, however, its also very possible that there's a general fear of the unknown future of media. The internet has drastically changed how, when and what information is being delivered, but the internet has also changed the relationship between media consumers and media producers (instantaneous news vs. printed every morning, on-demand vs. scheduled, etc.)
2. The Journal Sentinel also noted a new measurement that looked at combined readership from its print and web editions. I think this fact might highlight an important point: Even though newspapers may be losing a piece of the ad pie to the internet, many newspaper owners also own the web sites where those dollars are being spent. Take a look at the Journal Sentinel which runs JSOnline.com (the heaviest trafficked web site in Wisconsin) and several other web sites, as well as Real Cities, a network of local newspaper sites formally owned by Knight Ridder.
To conclude, even though newspapers are losing readership, that doesn't necessarily mean media companies are losing the battle when it comes to ad revenue. Only time will tell.
UPDATE 11/06/2007: MJS has another article on its circulation/web numbers. Here's the link.