|Published Letter Valuation Method|
Below is the explanation of the methods we used to calculate the "ad Value"
of our published letters and articles. There are obviously variables and
these are educated guesses but as accurate as we can be with a bias towards
We have conducted significant research and come to some basic conclusions:
There are about 40 words per column inch in most newspapers and a column
inch is sold by most newspapers at about $60 per 100,000 circulation. This
seems to hold true regardless of how large or small a newspaper is and is
based on studying rate sheets and ad costs nationwide.
For example: A paper with a circulation of 100,000 readers that would
equate to a $1.50 per word value ($60 divided by 40 words in one column
inch). We estimate that the average circulation of newspapers in which we
have letters published is roughly 300,000. We base this on averaging the
circulation of these papers over a 3 year period. We conclude that our
average published letter or article is worth $4.50 per word (3 times $1.50).
We archive all of the published reform letters that we can find on our web
pages. The average archived LTE contains 810 HTML characters (bytes) which
don't count. (headings etc.)
Based on that, the "Letters to the Editor Value Clock" calculates the
number of letters currently archived, calculates the number of total
published words in the archive and multiplies that times the $4.50 word
average and then provides us with a total estimated value of our published
letters and articles,
So as a now outdated example on April 15 1998 we had:
Archived Letters to the editor: 592
Average letter size: 198 words
Total published words: 117,468 (592 times 198). We multiply this times the
$4.50 per word value above and come up with an estimated value of our
efforts of $528,606.00
This is more than $10 returned for every dollar invested in MAP (about
$50,000 to date) or a very impressive 1,000+% return on investment.
We know this is a very conservative estimate because we only find and
archive an unknown percentage (probably less than 50%) of our published
letters. This value also _does not_ include hundreds of broadcast media
appearances including radio talk shows and television appearances that have
been arranged by the DrugSense Media Awareness Project (MAP) effort that
would easily double the figure.
An additional consideration, albeit one that cannot be quantified, is the
effect and media educational value of the thousands of unpublished letters
that have been sent out nationwide since the MAP effort began.
We feel that the net effect of this ongoing and persistent media effort has
already shown signs of producing ever increasing amounts of coverage on
reform issues and perhaps even more important a significant improvement in
the accuracy of media coverage nationwide. We expect this effect to
increase as the DrugSense and MAP efforts grow and improve.