Wall Street Journal Becomes the Nation’s Top Paper

The Wall Street Journal is now the No. 1 newspaper in the United States by weekly circulation, selling 2.02 million papers per day (including here nearly 356,000 subscribers to its website), that’s up about 12,000 from the same period a year earlier, according to AP.

The new figure tops USA Today, which has long been the nation’s No. 1. The paper‘s circulation fell 17% to 1.88 million for the six months ending September 2009, a drop of about 390,000 copies. USA Today’s executives say that loss of hotel traffic, a price rise and economic environment were at the heart of the drop. Earlier this year, Marriott (NYSE:MAR) announced that it would stop automatically delivering copies of USA Today to rooms and instead implement a program where guests can request the newspaper of their choice or no paper at all.

The financial crisis has certainly thrown a new challenge at the newspaper industry still struggling to thrive from a steep drop in print advertising revenue and the migration of readers to free news online.

The News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal is among the major newspapers to charge for access to much of its Web site. USA Today does not.

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