Without any hint of irony while shilling for a monopoly on government advertising, the Odessa American is demanding that public notices only be run in local newspapers like theirs. Newspapers that the general public has long stopped reading.

Some quick numbers.

In 2007, the OA was reporting daily sales of 21,507 papers and Sundays 23,658.

In 2011, the Audit Bureau of Circulation showed that the Odessa American had a daily circulation of 16,595 and a Sunday circulation of 17,207.

What’s their circulation today? Hard to find that quickly – the OA’s website still points people to their 2007 rate card.

Media tracking websites show a range of numbers, from 17,500 to 23,351.

It’s probably safe to say that the OA isn’t in a “growth” posture. None of the dinosaur media is. You know, the Internet and all.

In 2007, the population in Odessa was 95,979.

Today, the city’s population stands at 110,720.

So while population is exploding, the Odessa American is – at best – holding steady in circulation, if not actually losing ground. Either way, it is clearly losing the percentage of area eyeballs on the publication’s materials. People are not buying what the Odessa American is printing.

Ironically, the OA exhorts their readers (what few they have relative to the area’s population) to take action:

“Let our representatives know that changing the current rules is a slap in the face of a system that works for the people. Let our representatives know that government lobbying groups shouldn’t set the rules for your need to know through a responsible third party.”

The Odessa American wants their (remaining) readers to petition government to maintain their monopoly of advertising government notices as a “responsible” third party that can “get information to the people.”

This, from a newspaper whose own advertising rate cards linked from its own website are more than seven years out of date.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president, and an Eagle Scout, Michael Quinn Sullivan and his wife have three children. He is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. Check out his podcast, “Reflections on Life and Liberty.”

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