“The Olympian” uses faulty math and logic

July 20th, 2010 by Ken

           Time was when The Olympian was a major player in this community.  It had a circulation approaching 50,000 and its many pages were filled with local news.

            More than two dozen reporters scoured the countryside, keeping an eye on local government and reporting any misuse of public funds and abuse of public trust.

            That was long ago.  No one believes the paper is a player  anymore.  Well almost no one, except  George Le Masurier, the publisher of The Olympian.  Apparently he’s still living in the dream world of newspaper power.

            He writes a weekly column that appears in the paper on Sunday.  For the most part it is the only local news in the paper.  Some 90 percent of the news content comes from Pierce County.

            I look forward to his piece every week because it gives me a view into his mind and how he’s adjusting to life in Thurston County.

            However, his May 30 article veered to the fantasy side.  He said, and I’ll try to quote accurately, “the printed version of The Olympian reaches 132,840 people every day in our whole distribution area, which includes parts of the counties that surround Thurston County.”

            You heard that right.  He said the paper reaches 132,840 people.

            Now note.  He didn’t say that 132,840 people read the paper, he just said it reaches 132,840.   If he meant to say that many read the paper each day, then he’s using faulty math and logic.

            The last official circulation figure for The Olympian  was 29,210.   We know that’s the number of paid circulation because the newspaper is required by postal law to state the figure every year.  That was the 2009 figure given to the feds.

            Le Masurier may be talking about the fact that many people read a newspaper who don’t subscribe.  We know that a newspaper passes through more than one set of hands.

            But even if three different people read each paper every day, the number is still below 90,000.

            In his column he also states that The Olympian’s web page gets 400,000 unique visitors every month and that they view 3.2 million pages.

            I have no way of knowing if this is accurate or not. However  I suspect not.

            There’s no doubt that many people now get their news from the internet and that some of them probably access the paper’s web page.  I doubt however that they get 400,000 unique visitors every month.

            I can only go by my experience.   As you know, I have a web page that can be accessed at kenbalsley.com.

            I get between 4000 and 5000 unique visitors every month.  I have to ask myself this question.  Does The Olympian get 100 times more viewers every month?  I doubt it.

            I’m perfectly willing to open my web stats to anyone with a serious need to look at them.  (Call them advertisers.)

            I suspect that Le Masurier will be unwilling to allow any outsider to look at his stats.

            If his circulation figures are any indication, he uses faulty logic in his web stats as well.

            It’s nice to live in a dream world once in a while.   But the publisher of our only daily newspaper needs to be a little more honest when talking about the paper and its impact.

 (This story appeared in the June 2010 edition of “Ken’s Corner & The Real News.)


Posted in Business, History, Informational, The Real News

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