Monday, December 09, 2019


Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The Three Hundred for 1978 -- Introduction

Back in the 1990s one of my earliest research projects was for Editor and Publisher. I indexed the Sunday and daily comics in the top one hundred circulation newspapers in the country. We did this for about four years.

A few months ago I contacted Allan about doing this again but suggested I start from the 1930s and go up to today to see the changes in comic strip circulation in the top newspapers over the years. He did not have the information on newspaper circulation and there was no online source available for the Editor & Publisher yearbooks, which had this data.

When I started doing research on comic strips back in the early 1990s the only source that was available to me was what was available in my local libraries on microfilm. That really did not help me even though I lived at the time in Queens which is part of New York City; most local libraries only carried The New York Times. In order to find out about The New York Daily News, for example, I would have to go to Manhattan to the big library with the famous lions in order to do the research. Old microfilms were at a place called the Annex which was not the greatest area to go to anyway.

The library had many New York papers and many out of town papers on microfilm, like the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times etc. Today we are very lucky to have available various online services that archive many newspapers.

I decided that I would research 300 different daily papers from big cities to small cities and determine an actual count of which strips are available in how many papers. First question: why 300 papers particularly? At this time not nearly every newspaper is available, so of course I take what I can get. I am a subscriber to service, and they can just barely supply me with 300 daily papers in the year I chose to start. Also, statistically speaking, it is really not necessary to check every newspaper. A representative sample is almost as good.

Here is the list of cities in the 50 states that we are taking the information from:

Alabama: Anniston, Montgomery (2 papers), Selma
Alaska: Sitka
Arizona: Flagstaff, Phoenix, Tuscon (2 papers)
Arkansas: No Papers
California: Escondido, Hanford, Lompoc, Los Angeles, Napa Valley, Petaluma, Roseville, Salinas, San Bernardino, San Francisco, San Pedro, Santa Cruz, Santa Maria, Santa Rosa, Tulare, Ukiah
Colorado: Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Grand Junction
Connecticut: Hartford
Delaware: Wilmington (2 papers)
Florida: Cocoa, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola (2 papers), St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Tampa (2 papers), West Palm Beach
Georgia: Atlanta
Hawaii: Hilo, Honolulu (2 papers)
Idaho: Burley, Twin Falls
Illinois: Arlington Heights, Carbondale, Chicago, Decatur, De Kalb, Mattoon, Moline, Mount Carmel, Woodstock
Indiana: Bloomington, Columbus, Elwood, Franklin, Greenfield, Indianapolis (2 papers), Jasper, Kokomo, Lafayette, Logansport, Martinsville, Muncie (2 papers), Munster, Noblesville, Richmond, Seymour, South Bend, Streator, Valparaiso, Vincennes
Iowa: Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines (2 papers), Iowa City, Mason City, Muscatine, Sioux City, Waterloo
Kansas: Garden City, Iola, Manhattan, Ottawa, Salina
Kentucky: Danville, Louisville, Madisonville, Owensboro, Paducah
Louisiana: Alexandria, Crowley, Franklin, Morgan City, Opelousas, Shreveport
Maine: No Papers
Maryland: Annapolis, Baltimore (2 papers), Salisbury
Massachusetts: Boston, Pittsfield
Michigan: Battle Creek, Detroit, Ironwood, Port Huron
Minnesota: Minneapolis (2 papers), St. Cloud
Mississippi: Greenwood, Hattiesburg, McMomb, Yazoo City
Missouri: Chillicothe, Clarksdale, Flat River, Jackson, Lansing, Sedalia, Springfield (2 papers), St. Joseph (2 papers), St. Louis, Winona
Montana: Billing, Butte, Great Falls, Hamilton, Helena, Missoula
Nebraska: Beatrice, Fremont, Lincoln (2 papers)
Nevada: Reno
New Hampshire: No papers
New Jersey: Asbury Park, Bridgewater, Camden, Hackensack, Millville, Morristown, New Brunswick, Passaic, Paterson, Red Bank, Vineland
New Mexico: Albuquerque, Carlsbad, Deming, Santa Fe
New York: Binghamton, Elmira, Glens Falls, Ithaca, New York, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, White Plains
North Carolina: Asheville, Chapel Hill, Rocky Mount
North Dakota: Bismarck
Ohio: Akron, Chillicothe, Cincinnati, Circleville, Corvallis, Coshocton, Dayton (2 papers), Fremont, Lancaster, Mansfield, Marion, Marysville, Newark, Port Clinton, Zaneville
Oklahoma: Oklahoma City
Oregon: Albany, Coos Bay, Salem (2 papers)
Pennsylvania: Allentown, Altoona, Carlisle, Chambersburg, Danville, Doylestown, Gettysburg, Hanover, Huntingdon, Indiana, Kane, Lancaster (2 papers), Latrobe, Lebanon, Monessen, New Castle , Philadelphia (2 papers), Pittsburgh (2 papers), Pottstown, Pottsville (2 papers), Scranton (2 papers), Somerset, Sunbury, Titusville, Tyrone, Wilkes-Barre, York
Rhode Island: No Papers
South Carolina: Aiken, Greenwood, Orangeburg
South Dakota: Lead, Rapid City, Sioux Falls
Tennessee: Clarksville, Jackson, Johnson City, Kingsport, Murfessboro, Nashville
Texas: Austin, Bryan, Del Rio, El Paso, Galveston, Harlingen, Irving, Longview (2 papers), Marshall, McKinney, Odessa, Paris, Plano, Taylor, Tyler, Vernon, Victoria
Utah: Provo, Saint George, Salt Lake City
Vermont: Bennington, Brattleboro, Burlington
Virginia: Newport News, Staunton
Washington: Longview, Spokane (2 papers)
West Virginia: No Papers
Wisconsin: Appleton, Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Fond Du Lac, Green Bay, Kenosha, La Crosse, Madison (2 papers), Manitowoc, Marshfield, Neenah, Oshkosh, Racine, Sheboygan, Stevens Point, Wausau, Wisconsin Rapids
Wyoming: Casper

Also, we are taking information from north of the border:

Canada: Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Nanaimo, Ottawa (2 papers), Red Deer, Regina, Saskatoon, Vancouver (2 papers), Victoria, Whitehorse, Windsor

The data that I compiled was based on the daily comics in newspapers that run either five or six daily editions; I did not index Sundays. Why no Sundays? First of all, not all of these papers have a Sunday comic section. Also, microfilmers often omit the Sunday comics, so even though a paper ran them, they are often missing. Microfilmers often care more about flyers from supermarkets than comics! The other reason is that the Sunday comics were often pilfered from the library bound volumes, so they were not there by the time the microfilmer got there. Years ago I went with Bill Blackbeard to pick up bound files of the Sunday comic sections which were held by the New York Public Library. They were bound Sunday sections of the New York Journal-American from the 1930s. All the sections were incomplete. Someone had taken out all the Flash Gordon and Prince Valiant pages!

So why start with 1978? This is a natural cut-off point because many more newspapers are available online before that year. This is because of copyright laws that put material from 1978 forward in a different category. Since I wanted to make sure that enough newspapers would be available from the 1930s until 2019, this was where I wanted to start. Fair warning, though: as we go forward we will not have 300 papers all the time because some papers will not be available online, or they went out of business or merged with another paper (a very common occurrence starting in the 1980s and going forward). So, the information that I compiled was what was running in these 300 daily papers in the first week of 1978. I hope you enjoy the journey. We’ll start tomorrow with a look at the rookie strips of 1977, then we'll discuss chart-toppers in various categories, and finally a complete list of the features with the papers in which they appeared.


I would have to check how far back it went, but the World Almanac used to have a chart every year listing the circulations of the largest daily newspapers in the U.S. I can double-check, since I have the entire set of Alamancs going back to 1927, but I believe the chart started to be published in the early 50s, and went through to the early 80s. If you need information, let me know.
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]