Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Red Star settles lawsuit

The Red Star "admits no wrongdoing", but has settled a lawsuit, which Star Tribune President and Publisher Keith Moyer called a "nuisance settlement."

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Star Tribune has settled an advertiser lawsuit that had claimed the newspaper inflated circulation so it could charge more for ads. The paper, which is the largest owned by The McClatchy Co., agreed to pay $55,000 to settle the case. Of that, $40,000 will cover legal fees and $15,000 will be paid as advertising credits to the plaintiffs, said Joe Snodgrass, an attorney for one of the advertisers.
Here is Rambix' original June 29, 2005 post on the matter: "This might explain it - like many liberals, the Red Star (allegedly) cheats".

Here we go. Rambix lives for these kind of revelations. It seems the Red Star has been (allegedly) cheating on their circulation numbers, and they're being called out in a court of law.

A month or so ago, the circulations numbers for many of the major US newspapers were printed and reported upon. A lot of the large papers showed dwindling circulation numbers. Here were the Red Star numbers according to the Pioneer Press:

"According to the circulation bureau, the Star Tribune's Monday through Saturday circulation for the six months ending March 31 was 378,316, up 0.3 percent from the same period last year. Its Sunday circulation was 655,198, down 2.4 percent."

At the time, we recall how it seemed unusual that decent papers were losing circulation, and a lesser paper like the Red Star would have even a slight gain in circulation for Monday through Saturday. Now we understand why. It appears the Red Star is (allegedly) inflating their circulation numbers, and the advertisers are none too happy. It means they have been paying inflated advertising rates, which means that the Red Star (allegedly) has been stealing from them. Thus the lawsuit.

The anecdotes have been flying about the paper giving away multitudes of free copies to various organizations, and even to people who were not subscribers, to inflate the circulation numbers. While the Red Star didn't admit fault, they've paid out money - we can decide if their hands are clean.