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Local readership of The Salt Lake Tribune increased in the six months that ended Sept. 30, while that of the Deseret News slipped, according to figures released Tuesday by a media industry group.

The combined average number of Tribune print readers during any seven-day period and online readers in any 30-day period during the six months amounted to 725,268 — an increase of 8.3 percent from the same period last year, the Audit Bureau of Circulations said.

The number of people reading the LDS Church-owned News in print or online totaled 529,406, down 5.3 percent, ABC said.

"I get amused by people calling us a legacy product. It's because we are a legacy product that they choose us," Tribune Editor Nancy Conway said.

"We have a legacy for independent, unfiltered news. I think we are zeroing in on readers and giving them what they want and how they want it."

ABC also provided total average circulation figures for both newspapers, but cautioned against comparing them against year-ago numbers. Rules governing what counts as circulation have changed in regard to how readers are counted, ABC said.

Average weekday circulation of The Tribune was 105,746. Sunday circulation was 122,782.

Weekday circulation of the News was 69,519. Sunday circulation was 93,658.

The News surpassed The Tribune in one area — total unique users online. An average of 2.6 million users per month visited the News, up 49.1 percent from the March-through-September period of 2010. By contrast, 2.5 million users looked at The Tribune website, for an increase of 17.6 percent from the same time of last year.

Unlike the estimates of local print and online readers, total unique users is a measure of readership from anywhere in the world. Clark Gilbert, CEO of the News was unavailable for comment. But the former Harvard University business school professor has been grooming the paper to attract a worldwide audience of largely LDS readers.

Nationally, The Wall Street Journal remains the No. 1 newspaper in the U.S., with average weekday circulation of 2.1 million.

USA Today was second, with 1.8 million, and The New York Times was third, 1.2 million on average from Monday to Friday. The Times had the highest circulation on Sundays, with 1.6 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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