Courier has strong showing in 2022, but challenges remain

by Peter Weinberger | pweinberger@claremont-courier.com

From a number standpoint, it’s easy to see the massive improvement for the COURIER when comparing revenue and expenses for 2021 to 2022.

It’s important to keep in mind that in 2021, we were still dealing with issues from the pandemic. Although we developed a donation push back then, all the change going to nonprofit was still relatively new for our supporters.

There’s no question the COURIER has momentum going into 2023, as we continue to make progress with our coverage and products. This is quite a statement given the fact the newspaper industry, especially local news coverage, is tanking. I witnessed our revenue drop off a cliff starting in March 2020, so the staff is doing everything possible to make sure this doesn’t happen again. But sometimes these struggles are just bigger than one small company.

One thing is certain. The COURIER’s financial health will mirror how the economy performs. We are feeling the effects of inflation, but business remains brisk during the final quarter of 2022.

Reviewing the numbers

The graphic includes a 2021 to 2022 comparison of some of our main cost and revenue categories. Comparing years is important because it shows the impact of the pandemic, especially on revenue.

Overall expenses:

2021 — $834,085

2022 — $846,180 projected

Overall revenue:

2021 — $770,376

2022 — $872,791 projected

Donations:

2022 — $64,079

There are five key categories in which the COURIER raises revenue. If you’re a regular reader, you can probably figure out what they are. They include main advertising 41% (ads on pages up to classifieds), legal notices 8.2%, classifieds 17.6% (including real estate), subscriptions 21.7% and donations 8%. Together they amount to 96.6% of COURIER revenue.

  • In 2022, COURIER readership and subscription revenue remains strong across the board. We increased our subscription prices, and we increased subscribers. When reviewing online data, it is obvious the need for local news remains strong. The website continues to receive about 14,000 viewers each week, and fewer than half are from Claremont. And that’s okay because the COURIER welcomes all readers to support our local news efforts. Our viewers stretch from Rancho Cucamonga to La Verne to Pomona/Ontario. In other words, the COURIER has increased readership for both print and online.
  • On the expense side, printing prices increased and will continue to do so. I was able to lock us into a very competitive price but that expired mid-year. Since then, we had a 10% increase because of newsprint. I do not see printing prices going down in 2023. Payroll had an increase from the hiring of Mick Rhodes as editor and a consultant to help with accounting. We also remain committed to working toward paying livable wages with full benefits to our employees. This continues to remain a challenge because of inflation, but we have made progress.
  • When reviewing our overall revenue and expenses, we are thankful for the considerable revenue gains we made in just one year. The over $100,000 year-to-year increase shows the hard work of our entire staff, especially advertising director Mary Rose. Considering the state of the media industry, this number is incredible.
  • The small increase in overall expenses was not a surprise either, especially given all the infrastructure and website changes we made this year. It’s important to keep in mind overall COURIER yearly revenue is still below totals from the years before the pandemic. I don’t think those days will come back, which is why your subscription and donation are so important.

Looking ahead to 2023

Making any predictions is quite difficult because so many factors can change. The impact of your donation is simple: it’s the difference between having a company in the black instead of red. The COURIER can support a group of journalists who live here and are committed to serving the public. Your donations help build a website critical to our future. We can keep the website open to all people, regardless of income. And there’s the Weinberger family making sure the COURIER will survive into the next generation.

If you have not donated this year, all we ask is to consider giving something. If you enjoy reading the COURIER, help us continue to publish. It will truly have an impact on the Claremont community, while helping to spread objective, fact-based information to the public. I’ve shared our numbers so you can see how your donation helps to save local news. We can continue to do this with your support.

Part 1: COURIER’s transformative year

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