PNG’S two daily English newspapers appear to be going in different directions – one continues to grow in circulation while the other went down for the second consecutive quarter.
The National saw another increase in this year’s third quarter to a daily average of 44,900 copies.
This is an increase of 3,751 copies, or 9.1%, over the second quarter.
On the other hand, Post-Courier dropped 51 copies to 26,961 from 27,018.
The third quarter figures were released by the Audit Bureau of Circulation recently.
Post-Courier, which has undergone two redesign exercises in the past two to three years, appeared
to have stagnated.
In the second quarter, it also dropped about 440 copies from the first quarter.
The National is now ahead of the Post-Courier by more than 17,900 copies, or 66%.
Andy Ng, the general manager of Pacific Star Ltd, which publishes The National, welcomed the growth but said transportation issues continued to create problems.
“The roads and bridges from Lae to centres like Madang and Goroka need serious improvement and better maintenance,” he said.
“Air services also need to be increased to cater to the increased demand from the travelling public and cargo.”
Ng said while the cover price played a part in the sales of the two newspapers, he believed the contrasting performance was more likely due to editorial content.
“We are strong in our national coverage, as a national newspaper should be.
“We must cater to readers in all parts of the country, not just those in Port Moresby, Lae and other urban centres.
“As a newspaper in a developing country, we cannot only consider our business interests.
“We have a social responsibility as well to ensure the people are kept abreast of developments to enable them to make informed decisions.
“This also means reporting responsibly, and not sensationalising.”
Ng admitted that The National could do a lot better in certain areas and would work harder.
For example, he said, the company would also continue to seek ways to improve the delivery of newspapers to the reader by, among other things, increasing the printing capacity.
“We have received positive comments on the quality of our print.
“Although we upgraded our presses only recently, the demand for colour positions suggests that we will need another upgrade soon.”
Ng added that with the growth, the company could look to further improving working conditions for the staff “who remain our core asset”.