By Trevor Busch on February 24, 2021.
When it comes to history, many newspapers can trace their roots back more than a century, and the Lethbridge Herald is no exception.
However, in attempting to celebrate that past and highlighting achievements down through the decades, some newspapers haven’t done a very good job of illustrating that tradition for their wider readership.
While in the midst of redecorating his office and preparing an audit for the Alliance of Audited Media (AAM), Herald director of circulation Ryan Turner took a closer look at a certificate that has been hanging in the offices of the Lethbridge Herald for over a 100 years.
“We do our audits with them, just to verify our numbers, and apparently we’ve been doing it for 106 years,” said Turner.
Considering the newspaper’s unbroken track record for audits during that period, Turner decided to forward a photo to the organization.
Last week in their “Throwback Thursday” post to social media, the AAM posted the certificate and the photo which received some online buzz.
“I’m doing a two-year audit right now – the big audit – and I moved that over and thought maybe they’d like to see that. It’s from 1915, it’s amazing. Probably most newspapers don’t have that. For all these years – and we’ve been around for longer than that, but actually the audit bureau’s circulation started in 1914 – but they said we were one of the first Canadian newspapers that jumped on board after they started up.”
The AAM verifies the circulation numbers of various publications, generally for advertising purposes.
“Right now it’s the Alliance for Audited Media. Before it was the Audit Bureau of Circulation,” said Turner. “It’s more for advertising, so we can say we get to this many houses. And then its verified, our numbers go up on their website, and then you can actually see how many papers we put out.”
Turner believes the Herald’s storied history is about more than just circulation numbers, however.
“What does that say about us for that length of time? We are Lethbridge’s go-to for news, and in fact the surrounding area. There’s so many people – because we talk to our subscribers every day – especially since COVID started, a lot of seniors are stuck at home, they don’t have computers.
“This is their window to the world. I’ve gotten so many letters, and so many phone calls, thank you so much for continuing to print during COVID. This is everything to them.”
Transitioning to a more local and regional focus with a more effective eye on surrounding communities has Turner excited about prospects for the future.
“I’m really liking this whole local thing…that’s what people want to read. I can get the papers to people’s houses, but I have no control over the content of the paper, and when someone is doing something that people want, we can sell papers. So I’m pretty excited.”