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Yearly audit for News Media Canada

Lisa Sygutek

Sept 20, 2023

Because the Pass Herald is a paid newspaper, I must prove every year how many paid subscriptions I sell, proving how big my circulation is. 

It’s that time of year here at the Pass Herald, the dreaded time when I must do my yearly audit for 2022 for News Media Canada. 

Because the Pass Herald is a paid newspaper, I must prove every year how many paid subscriptions I sell, proving how big my circulation is. 

It’s an arduous task which encompasses itemizing every week that we distribute the paper, showing how many papers I mailed out, how many papers I sold in each of the outlet stores here in the Crowsnest Pass, how many papers I print and how many electronic subscriptions I have. It’s a multitude of paperwork to prove what my circulation is. 

The audit is called the Canadian Media Circulation Audit. It takes me a long time to compile the information and fill out all the forms. I’ve been doing the same audit for over 15 years, so I’m relatively good at it, but it arduous and time consuming. I’m not going to lie, I’d rather be hiking a mountain. 

Once I complete all the paperwork it then goes to my accountant, Shauna at Nyrose & Alexander LLP, which happens to be next door and then it’s off for approval with News Media Canada. 

As much work as it is, it does give me some incredibly good information about the viability of the newspaper and who is reading it. This is the part I find exciting. Yes, I know I’m a bit of a nerd. 

I’ll remind you of a story when I was a little girl. One day when I was about 12, I was in a store with my mom and a lady said to her, “Gail, you are so lucky, you have one daughter that is so pretty and one that is so smart”. Guess which one I was. I have to say I never took offense because even then I knew my mind would get me a lot farther in life than my looks would. 

The audit for 2022 was really interesting. The Pass Herald grew its readership. We never really lost any readership during COVID, we lost a lot of money, but we didn’t lose our readers, something I’m thankful for all the time. 

My audit showed we grew our audience by over 300 people in 2022. While other papers in the country are shutting down, we actually grew in readership.

What’s more interesting is that our readership stayed within the community. We sell about 1500 hard copies a week of the Pass Herald, both through the mail and through outlet sales. Our growth was in our digital market. We went from around 150 electronic subscriptions to 450. Yes, you read that right - a 200 per cent increase. 

Once I saw these numbers, I went into our digital subscription company analytics to see where our growth took place and to my utter surprise it was in four major cities in Canada. 

We have always had a good following in Lethbridge and Calgary. A lot of old families have moved there and want to keep up on the happenings here in the Crowsnest Pass.

Our subscriptions to both Lethbridge and Calgary exploded. We have gained almost 200 extra electronic subscriptions between the two cities in 2022 alone. The other 150 subscriptions were mostly to Vancouver, Toronto and believe it or not, China and Australia.

My only guess is that people have found the Crowsnest Pass, whether it is for vacations, buying reasonably priced homes in the mountains, or in the case of China and Australia, for speculation on the mines. 

Either way people are reading the Pass Herald, not just in the Crowsnest Pass, but around the world. In a time when newspaper viability is being questioned, we are chugging along well. 

So, thank you for sticking with us, and thank you to the new subscribers for coming on board. We are proud of our product and this audit proves that all the hard work we do is paying off. 

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