How to File Community Circulation Data

Step-by-step instructions to help you file your community newspaper data.


Use the following step-by-step instructional guide to help you file your community newspaper data that will be audited by AAM or CAC. In turn, your newspaper's valuable print information will be accessible to the Media Intelligence Center's more than 5,000 active registered users, populated in numerous industry databases and sent directly to some of the country's leading advertisers and advertising agencies, totaling nearly five million contacts each year.

Accessing AAM’s Quarterly Filing Tool

Step 1: Locate the quarterly circulation filing tool.

After logging in to the Publisher Filing Center, select Quarterly Filing Online from the right-hand menu.

Step 2: Use the quarterly filing tool's left-hand navigation menu.

Easily enter the required information using the tool's left-hand menu. Let's take a look at each of the menu's four navigational areas.


Updating Your Publication Information

Step 1: Select Survey from the Quarterly Filing Questionnaire section in the navigation menu.

The data featured on the Survey home screen is prepopulated based on our newspaper's last quarterly submission to AAM. Please take a moment to review and either confirm or update the information.

Each section featured in the above screen shot is described in and corresponds to the numbers below.

  1. Circulation categories: check the circulation categories that apply to your newspaper. Your selections here determine the categories made available in the following menu section: Enter Circulation Data.
  2. Advertising Director: review and update the contact information for the advertiser director at your media company. This individual should be someone who media buyers can contact to learn more about your newspaper data once it is released into the marketplace.
  3. Contact information: review and update with the appropriate contact for your media company. AAM may contact this individual with inquiries about the data once it's been submitted.
  4. Main newspaper publishing plan: Please fill in information for the following aspects of your newspaper's publishing plan.
    • Frequency: the number of days a week the newspaper is published (i.e. published Monday-Sunday or published in print on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday and published online 7 days a week)
    • Delivery vehicle: distribution platforms for the newspaper (i.e. print, online, apps)
    • Primary circulation classification: use this field to identify your primary (majority) distribution type:
      • paid circulation
      • qualified circulation (i.e. opt-in requested) or
      • verified (i.e. TMC home delivery or nonpaid public access).
    • Description: a nonpromotional description of your newspaper’s focus
    • Website(s): URL for your newspaper’s website

In the next step, we'll show you how to file your newspaper's publishing frequency as well as its nonpublishing and omitted days during the designated quarter.

Step 2: Move to the next section under Quarterly Filing Questionnaire. Select Main Edition Pub Plan from the navigation menu. 


Each section featured in the above screen shot is described in and corresponds to the numbers below.

  1. Quarter date range: the default settings prepopulate calendar dates for the quarter. If you plan to use a financial quarter (also known as a 4-4-5 schedule), please modify the dates. Do not skip or double count any dates from other quarters that have been previously submitted to AAM on behalf of your newspaper.
  2. Publishing plan: these are prepopulated based on your previous circulation data submissions to AAM. To change your publishing frequency, please contact AAM.
  3. Nonpublishing and omitted days: list all of the dates on which your newspaper was not published during the quarter (also known as "nonpublishing days") and those days on which your newspaper was published but excluded from AAM reporting (also known as "omitted days"). Please follow the quick tips below to get started:
    • To add a new date, click the ‘+’ symbol.

    • To delete a date, click the ‘x’ symbol.

    • Use the calendar icon to select the applicable date.

    • For each omitted day, please enter the net circulation.

Step 3: Select Reconciliation of Days from the navigation menu


In the Reconciliation of Days section, the data that you've input into the previous Main Edition Pub Plan screen is automatically calculated for the quarter.

Confirm that the days entered for the quarter are complete and accurate.

  • The information featured in this section will serve as the divisor when determining circulation averages for the reporting period later in the filing process.
  • When you are satisfied with the information in this section, click Continue.


Entering Quarterly Circulation Data

Step 1: Select Paragraph 1 from the navigation menu.

Enter your newspaper's circulation totals for the quarter using the Paragraph 1 section.

Here, the data entry fields shown have already been predetermined by the circulation categories that you previously selected in the Survey section. Use the check boxes to determine whether you are filing print and digital circulation. If a data entry section is missing or appears in error, please return to the Survey section using the navigation to revise your responses.

  1. Column headings: enter quarterly circulation totals by reporting frequency. These frequencies are prepopulated based on previous circulation claims that have been submitted to AAM on behalf of your newspaper. To change your publishing frequency, please contact AAM.
  2. Row names: enter quarterly circulation totals for each applicable reporting category. While you have the ability to use all potential reporting categories, please be sure that you're only entering data into those rows that apply to your newspaper's publishing plan. Only rows containing values more than zero are captured for AAM reporting during the data submission process.
  3. You may view subtotals of the data entered at any time by clicking the View Totals button at the upper-right corner of the screen.

Next, you'll be required to enter basic pricing for your newspaper.

Step 2: Select Basic Prices from the navigation menu.

Data in this section is prepopulated based on previous circulation claims that have been submitted to AAM on behalf of your newspaper. Please review and edit as necessary. Use the helpful tips below to proceed.

  • To add a row, click the ‘+’ symbol on the far left side of the screen.  
  • To delete a row, click the ‘x’ symbol on the far left side of the screen.
  • To edit data, click in that entry field and edit
  • If claiming digital circulation, fields for digital basic prices will appear

In the following step, you'll be required to provide notes to help explain the data you've entered.

Step 3: Select Explanatory from the navigation menu.

Add the AAM-designated explanatory elements that apply to your newspaper. To see all the options, click on the Add Explanatory button.

A pop-up menu will appear with potential explanatory disclosures.

To open each explanatory option, click on the subject name. Then view and add the disclosure to your quarterly reporting.

  • Nonpublishing and omitted days: these are prepopulated based on the entries made in the Survey section. If the dates are incorrect, please return to the Survey section to make revisions to this information.
  • Credit and arrears allowance: this is commonly referred to as the ‘4 percent allowance.’
  • All other disclosures may be unique to each publication. 


ZIP Code Data

Step 1: Select the Add/Modify option under the ZIP code section in the navigation menu.

  • Click on the Add New Paragraph 3 button to complete a survey about your ZIP code data for the current quarter.
  • If you have already previously entered and saved ZIP code survey responses, select Edit to make revisions to the data.

Each section featured in the above screen shot is described in and corresponds to the numbers below.

  1. Enter the Sunday date for your newspaper's ZIP code analysis.
  2. Enter the daily date for your newspaper's ZIP code analysis.
  3. A field for an optional date will appear if you have reported one with AAM in the past. If you wish to change or modify the optional frequency, please contact AAM.
  4. Enter a pub code. This may be anything chosen by the publication. If you plan to upload multiple ZIP codes the same pub code must be used.

Step 2: Confirm or edit the column headings to appear on the ZIP code analysis.

The column headings are prepopulated based on previous ZIP code data that have been submitted to AAM on behalf of your newspaper. To edit the headers, click on the Change Categories button.

  • At minimum, please select the total paid, qualified, and verified circulation categories that apply to your newspaper. The level of detail shown within each general circulation category is at your publisher’s discretion.
  • Digital replica and nonreplica will appear as their own rows within the ZIP code analysis as it isn’t necessary to analyze digital circulation by ZIP code. They are only used to include totals by circulation type. Be sure to check the applicable boxes if you are claiming digital circulation on behalf of your newspaper.

Step 3: Select if you'll be providing an analysis by town on behalf of your newspaper.

A town analysis is optional for all U.S. AAM newspaper members.

Step 4: Enter gross circulation totals for the ZIP code analysis date(s)

Click on the Circulation Record Totals button at the bottom of the screen.

Circulation metrics must be provided for the following:

  • ZIP code analysis date(s)
  • The previous corresponding date(s): if the ZIP code analysis is for a Wednesday, circulation metrics are also needed for the Wednesday from the previous week.
  • The following corresponding date(s): if the ZIP code analysis is for a Wednesday, circulation metrics are also needed for the Wednesday from the following week.

Step 5: Upload file for ZIP code analysis (option 1) or manually enter it into the online filing application (option 2).

Option 1: Newspapers may upload a file already containing a completed ZIP code analysis. To do so:

  • Click Choose file and select the completed ZIP code analysis file.
  • Click Upload file to submit the file to AAM.

Tip: The file must utilize a CSV or ASCII format. Click the on-screen link for more detailed file format requirements.

Option 2: Manually enter ZIP code analysis.

  • Click the ZIP Code Data Entry button at the bottom of the screen.
  • Manually enter the ZIP code data for the selected date(s).

ZIP codes data are prepopulated based on the previous ZIP code data that have been submitted to AAM on behalf of your newspaper. Each section featured in the above screen shot described in and corresponds to the numbers below.

  1. Click the delete button if a ZIP code is no longer applicable. Only ZIP codes with 25 copies or more on the selected date must be disclosed.
  2. To insert a new ZIP code, scroll to the bottom on the page and click on Insert New ZIP.
  3. Enter ZIP code data for each date required. For example, if the newspaper publishes daily and Sunday, then both a Sunday and daily date must be analyzed. A tab for each is provided.
  4. Ensure the circulation totals entered for the ZIP code analysis reconcile to the totals entered in the Circulation Record Totals section of this filing application. A comparison is shown at the bottom of your screen. A zero difference should also appear for each circulation category.
  5. Once you are satisfied with all the entries, don’t forget to submit the ZIP code analyses to AAM by clicking on the Ready for Submission button in the upper left corner of the screen.

To exit this section at any time, click the Close Window button at the bottom of the screen.

Step 6: (only applies to certain titles): Proration option for publications with daily circulation under 25,000.

Option only appears if you are eligible to prorate paragraph 3. If you wish to prorate circulation data, do not:

  • Change frequencies reported in step 1.  For example, report an optional day for the first time.
  • Change circulation categories in step 2.
  • Add or delete an affiliated publication.
  • Add or subtract zip codes.

Plus, one actual paragraph 3 must be completed per audit period.


Review and Submit

Step 1: Select View Errors from the navigation menu.

Use this section to review the data you've just entered to check for any errors.

  • If any errors exist, an itemized list will appear. Then, please revisit where the error exists in the filing tool and revise as necessary.
  • When you are satisfied with the data you've entered and all data is correct, please click the Continue button in the lower-right corner of the screen.

Step 2: Upload images

Select Upload Images from the navigation menu. Newspapers may provide an updated logo or other images for submission to AAM.

Step 3: Enter publisher comments

Select Publisher Comments from the navigation menu. Please enter any general comments to communicate to AAM staff any issues with or specific details relating to your quarterly data. If you enter any comments, be sure to click Save before exiting this screen.

Step 4: View quarterly data

Select View Quarterly Data from the navigation menu. Take a moment to review all data entries for accuracy before submission to AAM.

Step 5: Submit your quarterly circulation metrics.

Select Final Step Submit from the main navigation.

Each section featured in the above screen shot is described in and corresponds to the numbers below.

  1. Enter your name and title to attest that the quarterly circulation data that you're submitting to AAM on behalf of your newspaper are true and comply with AAM bylaws and rules.
  2. Check the box next to Date Signed to authorize submission. NOTE: This section now provides a digital signature. A hard copy signatory form (printed, signed and faxed to AAM) is not necessary.
  3. Enter the email address to where you would like to receive confirmation of your newspaper's data submission.
  4. Enter any additional comments for AAM staff.
  5. When you're ready to submit your quarterly circulation data, select Submit Quarterly Data to AAM. An email confirmation will be sent to the email address you entered in the previous field. 


Take the Virtual Tour

Take a few minutes and watch a tutorial on how to use the circulation filing tool.

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