• Daily Leader staff report
After a near-six-month review of the circulation records of the High Plains Daily Leader, Liberal’s only locally owned daily newspaper, the newspaper has received membership in the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
The nation’s leading publications have their circulation audited so that advertisers know the number of paid households the newspaper is reaching.
“In my 19 years of working at newspapers in Liberal, nothing is as intense or as important as this verification process,” Daily Leader publisher Earl Watt said.
The Daily Leader can be found on ABC’s Web site, accessabc.com, for advertisers who want to verify circulation numbers.
For years, local newspapers have used a number given to the post office as verification of circulation.
“The problem with that is the post office does not verify the numbers you give them,” Watt said. “You could give them anything, especially if you wanted it to appear to advertisers you have more subscribers than you actually do.”
That is not possible with an ABC audit.
“ABC sends an auditor to your office, and they check to see if you have a canceled check for every subscriber you have,” Watt said. “If you can’t show them a payment for each and every subscriber, then you can’t count them. If we don’t keep good records, we can’t count them. ABC is considered the gold standard of circulation audits, and we wanted to provide the businesses in our community a product they can use with verified circulation numbers.”
For newspapers, paid circulation is the landmark difference between their method of advertising and most others.
“Paid circulation is the benchmark for advertising,” Watt said. “Businesses want to reach households that have a vested interest in the success of the businesses in the community. They want to reach households that have the disposable income to make purchases at their businesses. That’s what a verified paid circulation newspaper can provide. Free distributed newspapers cannot provide that kind of benchmark, and newspapers with low paid circulations do not want to be verified by an independent auditor. They would rather use an unverified postal report or a self-notarized number.
“The only way to know for sure is to have an independent audit performed by a company that specializes in newspaper circulation,” Watt said. “That’s what ABC does.”
Some of the nation’s leading businesses prefer to advertise exclusively with ABC audited newspapers, and the Daily Leader is now listed among those publications.
“I am proud that we have been able to complete this process and be accepted as a member of ABC,” Watt said. “Liberal’s businesses now have a publication with verified circulation numbers. I am glad that we were able to make this happen, and we look forward to maintaining the highest standards in printing, news coverage, ad design, and now – as the only newspaper with audited circulation.”