The spring report from the Audit Bureau of Circulations indicates that paid newspaper circulation is declining, media reports said.

It was hoped that the six-month period ending March 2006 would prove that the industry plugged the dam, but the Newspaper Association of America’s semi-annual analysis said that daily circulation fell 2.5 percent, Editor and Publisher reported.

The Audit Bureau report said the result was the same for the six months ending September 2005, during which circulation fell 2.6 percent, reports said.

The papers that turned in the best results ran the spectrum: The Audit Bureau of Circulations reported that big national newspapers and the smallest dailies held steady, while major metros with circulations between 250,000 and 500,000 were the most bloodied, reports said. Only 182 out of the reporting 770 papers experienced gains, according to reports.

Newspaper Association of AmericaVice President of Circulation John Murray told Editor and Publisher that smaller markets are more stable while the larger cities have transient populations.

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