The Western Catholic Reporter showed a small deficit of $6,353 in its fiscal year that ended March 31, 2012.
The major reason for the deficit after several years of surpluses was a significant decline in advertising revenues over the last two years, a decline that we have begun to reverse in the current year.
Along with increased advertising in the newspaper, we, at long last, expect to begin providing advertising on our website – www.wcr.ab.ca – in the next couple of months.
We are always on the lookout for prospective advertisers, especially among local businesses. If you are interested in advertising your small or large business in the WCR, please call our advertising representative, Christopher Jugo (780-465-8030).
Over the last two years, the WCR has been involved in a revisioning process. Readers played a major role in that revisioning with your high level of participation in our November 2010 readership survey.
Part of the revisioning involves the integration of some of the newspaper's administrative functions with the Edmonton Archdiocese. Although the integration of WCR staff into the archdiocese is still in process, we have made it a priority to carry out this integration without any staff layoffs or reductions in salary or benefits for our employees.
Indeed, this integration of staff has also affected other archdiocesan organizations as the archdiocese attempts to run diverse organizations with greater efficiency.
Our 2012 financial statement also shows a decrease in spending this year. While our employees received a pay increase, we have still managed to keep our expenses in line while providing our readers with a quality newspaper.
One major source of funding is the grant we receive from the federal government's Canada Periodical Fund. Over the years, the nature of this grant has evolved.
For more than a century, publications did not receive a direct grant; instead, the federal government paid Canada Post to subsidize lower postal rates for periodicals.
In recent years, this became a direct subsidy to periodicals to pay their costs of mailing. In the last couple of years, it has become a grant aimed at promoting Canadian writers and publishers.
It is now tied to the amount of Canadian content as well as to the publication's circulation. We are required, over the course of the year, to have at least 80 per cent of the editorial content of the WCR written by Canadians.
Of course, we are glad to be a locally-based and oriented newspaper and we have learned to operate quite well within this mandate. One could even say that this regulation has ensured that we look first to the Canadian Church community for our columnists.
The grant, nevertheless, is an uncertain form of funding. For 2012-13, our grant has again been reduced, although not as much as we had anticipated. Our earnest hope is that the federal government continues to see the Church press as a valuable contributor to the Canadian cultural mosaic.
We encourage our readers to consider making a donation to the WCR with the envelope inserted in this week's newspaper. We also solicit your prayers for our ministry of informing and strengthening the Church.