The circulation area of the Record-Eagle covers much of northern Michigan, with a particular emphasis on counties adjacent to Greater Traverse City such as Leelanau County and Benzie County. While the economy of Michigan as a whole has been characterized as stagnant or declining, the Traverse City area demonstrated significant population growth in the 2000s.
The Traverse City area's economy centers on four-season recreation, retirement living, tourism, higher education, and Native American gaming, and the newspaper covers these concerns. Their editorial board often writes aggressively on environmental issues, with a particular emphasis on the ecology of the Great Lakes, anti-development in the region and liberal political issues.
In October 2005, the Michigan Press Association named the Record-Eagle the "Newspaper of the Year" for newspapers with daily circulations between 15,001 and 40,000. In 2005, the Record-Eagle told the Media Management Center (Northwestern University) that its daily circulation was 29,341.
In 2006, Suburban Newspapers of America named the Record-Eagle's flagship Web site, Record-Eagle.com, the Best Community News Site in its class (newspapers with circulation under 40,000), and also awarded the site Best Site Architecture and Design.