After the February 27 closure of the Rocky Mountain News, Dean Singleton, chairman of MediaNews Group and publisher of the Denver Post, said he wanted to retain 80 percent of Rocky subscribers -- and in the first official report since then from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which monitors circ numbers of the print-journalism industry, the Post is meeting this standard, albeit by a fairly modest amount. Through March 31, the broadsheet suffered a 17.4 percent dip on weekdays from the same span a year earlier, and a 12.3 percent decline on Sundays, when the Rocky didn't publish.
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It's too early for a victory parade, though. This drop-off occurred in just 32 days, and circulation at major-metro dailies across the country continues to slide. Moreover, the remaining margin is mighty small. The next major ABC audit takes place six months from now, and if the Post remains above Singleton's 80 percent threshold on both weekdays and Sundays in that survey as well, it'll be nothing short of a miracle. The key for the Post, then, will to stay close to that number. Otherwise, a continuing mutiny by former Rocky subscribers will only make a bad situation worse.