Don’t just take their word for it! Check out the claims being made

editorial image
Share this article

Are businesses across Mansfield & Ashfield getting what they pay for from some publishers?

My publishing experience spans more than 40 years, 20 of those working at the Chad, then later being part of a consortium that bid for an East Midlands radio franchise, onto making TV travel programmes that appeared on the Sky network, and this year returning to newspaper publishing with my own paper, the NewsJournal.

I consider myself well placed to comment on the practices used by those selling advertising space.

Any business that is advertising locally can be sure of getting a response.

It’s the nature of selling advertising space that media sales staff canvass every advertiser offering their publications or radio stations’ services.

It seems that in some cases extraordinary claims are being made about circulation and readership.

Reputable media organisations can confirm their circulation, distribution or listener numbers because they audit their figures to industry standard audit procedures. Local businesses can check out the local media using these links.

Radio Mansfield 103.2: Members of RAJAR then scroll down to find Radio Mansfield 103.2 where you can see that the station reaches 24% of the local population

Mansfield & Ashfield Chad: Members of the Newspaper Society where you can see that the paper sold an average of 24,323 copies a week and had 62,307 readers every week during the Jan2013 to Dec2013 period.

Mansfield & Ashfield NewsJournal:

Audited print and distribution figures confirmed by Beeley & Hawley, Chartered Accountants show that 10,000 copies are actually printed and distributed across Mansfield & Ashfield.

It’s very easy for any firm to state that thousands of copies are being printed but unless you can see the original invoices from the printer, how will anyone know?

I have raised these issues with the local Trading Standards Office but they have little appetite to investigate without concrete proof.

Businesses should not be fooled by unsubstantiated circulation claims.

Don’t just take the sales person’s word!

Ask for proof of printing and delivery from a professional body or chartered accountant, whose professional status would not allow them to produce a statement that was anything but honest.

The publishing industry approach is generally to review and measure the previous six or 12 months’ printing invoices and distribution invoices.

The 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli is attributed by Mark Twain with first saying “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” which is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. Some of the claims being made seem very weak indeed.