Posted by The Lad on July 22, 2018 02:00:46When a newscast from the New Jersey-based Associated Press newspaper broke on Thursday night that the newspaper’s circulation had dropped by more than 3.4 million in the past year, many in the country took to social media to express their outrage.
One of those was a Twitter user named Robert A. Giannotti, whose name has been used on other Twitter accounts to identify himself as the man behind the account.
He said the decline was likely due to “a number of things,” including “a reduction in the number of readers and fewer people paying,” according to a transcript of a phone interview with The Lad obtained by The Associated Press.
“People want the news, not to see people get killed,” Giannotto said.
“So that’s why the media is dying.”
The decline of print advertising, the loss of subscribers and the need to cut costs as the digital era takes hold are all factors, he said.
“I’m the one who’s getting a lot of hate,” Ginnottisaid.
“I get hate from people who say that I’m the same person who was the bad guy.”
As he spoke, people on Twitter were voicing support for Giannottis account.
One person, @RalphNimmo, called him a “courageous man” who was taking a stand against corruption.
Another person, who also goes by the Twitter handle @TravisDolan, said Giannotis “wants to stop the corruption and the lying.”
In an interview, Giannatto said he had used the account for the past five years, including for some of the stories about the paper’s declining circulation.
He also said the tweet about the circulation decline had been posted without his knowledge and that the tweet had been deleted before it reached his Twitter feed.
He didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The AP has declined to say how many times it has been in the news this year because of a federal privacy law that bars public disclosure of certain subscriber information.
Giannotti said he thought the decline in circulation was a result of several factors, including a slowdown in new print advertising as a result a $2 billion federal takeover of the newspaper in February.
He said the AP had reported that the average print ad ran for less than two minutes.
The AP said the number dropped by 2.3 million in that period, a decline of more than half a million from the year before.
The company also said it had reported a decline in advertising revenue of $600 million for the year.
The newsroom, where reporters and editors work together, is also under federal investigation into allegations that it helped cover up the disappearance of a reporter in 2009 and a staffer who died in a car crash in 2012.
In response to the decline, the AP reported on Monday that it would reduce the number it publishes from about 500,000 to about 400,000, a move it said was part of its ongoing effort to cut its expenses.
The Associated Press declined to identify the person behind the newscaster account.
The New York-based newspaper has not commented on the authenticity of the tweet.
Associated Press reporter Lauren O’Connor contributed to this report.