How newspapers keep printing

Newspapers don't run on air, or "No bucks, no Buck Rogers!"

It’s not often you can catch me by surprise, but it happens. In the oddest way: a few weeks ago, I was asked how newspapers were “funded.”

Now, that’s something that I thought would be obvious to everyone. A store gets its revenue from its customers, and so does a newspaper. They sell a shoe, a pound of potatoes, a camera – we sell advertising.

Those who don’t care how a newspaper operates can move on to the Letters section now.

Every week (or every day for the dailies still out there) we run the same basic ration of news copy to ads. We need to at least break even, although Black Press, our company, likes us to do a little more than that.

Economics 101 – picture each page as a pricing unit. We base our costs (staff, printing, paper, postage, etc.) on each page being filled with a certain amount of advertising. But, because of the way newspapers are printed – four pages at a time, sometimes we have to increase that ratio and skirt the edge of poverty. Such as, if we have enough advertising to cover 10 pages, but we still have to run 12 pages.

Although they don’t ask us where the “funding” comes from, people often comment on the size of the paper. Here’s the answer: it all depends on the advertising we receive from week to week. If we have enough advertising to run 16 or 20 pages, we do. If we can only afford to run 12 pages, so be it.

Unfortunately, when times are tough for our business customers, they don’t advertise as much, making times difficult for us as well.

A publisher that I worked for many years ago told me that a drop in advertising was a sure sign of poor economic times, and that observation has certainly held up over the years.

Good times, bad times, they come and go as all of us are well aware of. Right at this moment… well, it’s been better.

When we ask everyone to shop “at home” – or as much at home as they can, it’s because we’re an “at home” business as well and we rely on local business – AND you, our readers,  to keep us going.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

Just Posted

Ashcroft hospital emergency closed sign, 2016. Photo credit: Barbara Roden
Ashcroft Hospital emergency department closed this weekend

Closure due to unexpected limited physician availabiliy, says Interior Health

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Heidi Roy of the Cariboo Jade Shop in Cache Creek with the 3,000 jade boulder, which is now on secure display inside the shop. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Massive jade boulder returns to Cache Creek store six months after daring heist

The 3,000-pound boulder was stolen on Dec. 19, 2020 and found abandoned in the bush a week later

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Child sex crimes charges against Interior’s top doc won’t impact pandemic response: Dix

Dr. Albert de Villiers is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read