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Post to correct "bogus claim"

By Andy Alexander

The Post touted some impressive stats on the back page of Monday’s 8-page special section explaining the paper’s extensive design changes.

Among them was a claim that “nearly three times as many Washingtonians age 25-54 read The Post each week than listen to WTOP, the largest audience radio station.”

But Jim Farley, WTOP’s vice president of news and programming, said it was a “bogus claim.”

“They do not print any source for that wildly inaccurate claim,” he wrote me. According to the latest data from media and marketing firm Arbitron, he said, “659,600 people between 25-54 listen to WTOP each week, more than the entire circulation of the newspaper.”

Further, he said, Arbitron reports “nearly 1.5 (million) listeners of all ages listen to WTOP weekly. That’s individual listeners. Now if you resort to the newspaper trick of counting everybody in a household and claiming they all read the newspaper, WTOP could do the same plus count the size of all the carpools that listen to WTOP.”

Farley also contacted Post president and general manager Stephen P. Hills. “He couldn’t have been nicer,” Farley said of Hills. The result: a correction is set to run in Thursday’s Post.

According to Post spokeswoman Kris Coratti, it will read:

“An item in the redesign guide that accompanied Monday's paper incorrectly represented the comparison between the number of Washingtonians who read The Washington Post each week and the number who listen to WTOP, the radio station with the largest audience in this area. More than twice as many Washingtonians aged between 25 and 54 read The Post newspaper each week as listen to the station, according to independent research conducted in 2009 by Scarborough, a market and media research company jointly owned by The Nielsen Company and Arbitron, Inc.”

The latest published Post figures put circulation at 622,700 daily and 858,100 on Sundays.

In Monday’s special section, The Post also said:

-“The Post has the third-highest Sunday circulation in the U.S.”

-“Three times as many area adults read The Post each day as watch “American Idol.”

-“More area men age 18 to 49 read The Post than watch ESPN each week.”

By Andy Alexander  | October 21, 2009; 4:33 PM ET
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Next: Do Post editors care what readers think about the redesign?


"Post to correct 'bogus claim' "

That's nice.

Now if only that sort of standard could be applied to the editorial page and people like Mr. Will, Mr. Kristol, etc.

Posted by: sembtex | October 22, 2009 2:33 AM | Report abuse

What about the one about having journalistic standards?

Posted by: hellslittlestangel1 | October 22, 2009 4:55 AM | Report abuse

I hope the ombudsman does an update on the salon saga.

Posted by: subwayguy | October 22, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

“659,600 people between 25-54 listen to WTOP each week, more than the entire circulation of the newspaper.”

"The latest published Post figures put circulation at 622,700 daily and 858,100 on Sundays."

"More than twice as many Washingtonians aged between 25 and 54 read The Post newspaper each week as listen to the station..."

Fuzzy math. Is the WaPo counting the cat, the dog and the goldfish, too?

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | October 22, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Since the Post is issuing a correction, then the original claim must have been false, or at the very least misleading. So, why the quotes around “bogus claim” in your headline?

My dictionary defines “bogus” as “not genuine or true”. That seems to fit the original claim of the Post, which they are correcting. But putting quotes around “bogus claim” in your headline implies that there is a question about whether the claim was bogus or not.

If your headline is simply quoting Mr. Farley, it would have been better to keep it in the body of your post, rather in the headline where it is subject to misinterpretation.

Posted by: hgillette | October 22, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Blame it on Charles Pelton. Oh, wait: He's gone. Time for the publisher to find another scapegoat. Or look in the mirror.

Posted by: Viewfinder | October 24, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Good. Correction of errors is necessary.

Now, how about Joby Warrick's front page boogie-man story today, which lacks any named sources?

Posted by: anaximander471 | October 24, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

This is not about politics...rather it is about "HOME" . Home used to be a tabloid style part of the POST, then it became a "section" of the POST. Now it has been sqinched into the new"LOCAL pull-out"...I think is the current term. Along the way it lost reporters and writers and Lord only know what else...still I always looked forward to Thursdays and reading about curtains and walboard and gardens and bargains. Well, I read the first issue of the Local news thing...and there stuck into nooks and crannies I found the news about interior design and architecture and gardening I like . But today I, by happen stance, find several good articles on design and gardens in the Real Estate section of today's post. Could you please stop messing about with the "Home" stuff and put it all together in one place, once a I don't miss it and I can find it. PS
It isn't easy to find the Ormsbudsman either.

Posted by: nancysupler | October 24, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

There is an additional statistic that might interest you. I subscribe to the Post and get the paper delivered to my door every day. My paper does double duty. After I finish reading it, I put it on the basement floor. My 13-year old Beagle can't hold it in as long as she used to and often can't wait to go outside. She pees on it daily, and poos on it once or twice a month. The Post makes cleaning up after her much easier. In my case, the written word is much better than the sound that comes over the air waves. You have bettered WTOP in this respect.

My guess is that the Post makes cage cleaning much easier for bird owners than listening to WTOP. The Post gets another gold star.

Posted by: esch | October 25, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

The new page numbering system is horrible -please return to the standard alpha-numeric format (A20, rather than 20A).

Please enlarge the weather section, including the map - the current section is unreadable.

Please restore the business section as a separate section.

Posted by: MaryLSoffer | October 25, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

When will you stop writing those bogus editorials on Fenty, Rhee and Nickles?

Posted by: candycane1 | October 26, 2009 6:03 AM | Report abuse

Its not a stretch to say "BulKakkii" is it, I do not want to affend anyone, though to this day I do not know what it means, Yeah George Allen. Since you seem to stretch information to help the Post Out. I finally got my father and one of my daughters to cancel the POST, and I am working on others.

What ever happend to fair and honest reporting, like what is an ACORN, who is Dan Blather, and Gee what happen to those couple of Days of George Bush's Guard Duty, but Bill Ayers and Van Jones not important, when are you going to get with the program.


Posted by: wirepaladin1 | October 26, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

"The latest published Post figures put circulation at 622,700 daily and 858,100 on Sundays."

Then why am I seeing figures published the same day as this article putting daily circulation at 582,844? Does even the "correction" have misleading numbers? Did the Post's ombudsman not bother finding out the paper's circulation numbers, or did he find them out and choose to instead go with outdated numbers to blunt WTOP's rightful criticisms?

Posted by: Libertas | October 26, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

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