• Can we trust these figures?

Circulation numbers used to be something you could get your head around. A daily newspaper printed so many issues, and the circulation was the number people bought.

It’s a new world. The Audit Bureau of Circulations reported its latest six-month figures, and the Sun-Times rules the local roost.

The ABC “ranked the Sun-Times and its branded editions as the ninth largest newspaper in the country, just ahead of the Tribune,” the Sun-Times reported. “The Sun-Times editions include six suburban dailies, a three-times-a-week paper and the Pioneer Press chain of weeklies.”

If you haven’t been paying attention, you might wonder what such titles as the Lake Zurich Courier and Post-Tribune in Lake County, Indiana, have to do with the Sun-Times. Under recent rule changes, they are known as “branded editions” and count. If it’s a charade, the Tribune goes along with it. For the Tribune reports: