Black Inklings: BIG tip of the hat to Max Heath, NNA Postal Committee

From Ken Blum 

Dear Black Inkling Readers,

Is your newspaper wholly or partially delivered to subscribers via periodical mail?

NNA Posta Guru/KPA Past President Max Heath

If so, you owe a debt of gratitude to the National Newspaper Association, its committees and members, Max Heath, NNA’s guru of all things postal and Tonda Rush, NNA’s guru of all things legal. Max, Tonda and their team not only provide information and input to members about all things related to mailing paid and free circulation newspapers, but their lobbying efforts have saved YOUR newspaper thousand and thousands of dollars in mailing costs, and helped simplify postal rules to make the mailing process much more efficient and effective. 

The most recent victory resulted from two years of lobbying to eliminate the century-old periodical (formerly second class) mail requirement to mark-up every page of every issue to show what’s advertising and what’s not, a tedious process that can take hours.

Now, your newspaper can enroll in an annual validation system that eliminates the toil and trouble of marking up every issue of the paper. 

The basics are outlined in this memo from Ms. Rush.  

Instructions for “Marked Copy” Validation Process

From the NNA Postal Committee

This compliance requirement meets the mandates of Domestic Mail Manual Section 207.16.2, which requires publishers to provide the percentage of advertising in each mailed issue. These percentages are listed on Postage Statement, PS Form 3541. Under the traditional method, publishers are required to present a marked hard copy of each edition of each issue for which a mailing statement is filed.

In addition to the traditional method for validating a publication’s advertising percentage, a new annual option is now available. To take advantage of it, follow these steps.

1.     Email the USPS PostalOne! Help Desk at Or telephone 1-800-522-9085 option 3, then 6.q

2.     Wait for the Help Desk to acknowledge your request by email. Verify that the information is correct and, if necessary, send a follow up email to the Help Desk with any additional changes. Your postmaster or Business Mail Entry Unit (BMEU) will contact you to confirm the start date for your enrollment at which time you will stop submitting marked copies with each issue or edition. It doesn’t hurt for you to follow up with your local USPS associate if you haven’t been contacted in a reasonable amount of time. Throughout the year, it is important to retain a marked copy of each published issue and edition for USPS review (September-October).

3.     Your next action will be in September-October, 2017. At that time, the postmaster or BMEU will contact you with a request to submit the selected issue(s) to the post office or BMEU.

4.     If the advertising percentage for the initial marked copy sampled is less than or equal to 5% of the amount of advertising claimed on Form 3541 no assessment is applied and you will be approved for another year.

5.     If the advertising percentage for the marked copy sampled is greater than 5% of the amount of advertising claimed on Form 3541, an assessment may be applied to the initial issue and the USPS will review an additional 4 marked copies. If any of the 4 sampled are greater than 5% of the amount of advertising claimed on Form 3541, an assessment may be applied to the additional 4 issues. A final assessment, averaging the difference of the additional 4 samples, may be applied to any un-sampled issues published throughout the year.

6.     Remember that the postage payment being examined is for your Outside County copies, and then only for the pound price postage percentage for the issues. Thus, adjustments should be relatively minor if they occur. But if your issues fail, it may signal that you and the USPS do not agree on your measurement system, and you may need to work together to be back in sync to remain in the program for the year.

7.     You will have a right to appeal if you disagree with any postage assessment.

8.     If all is well, just keep mailing. You won’t hear from the postmaster again for validation until September 2018.

As always, NNA members are always welcome to contact Max Heath, Tonda Rush or the Postal Committee for assistance. OUR help is free as a member benefit. And, we are always pleased to get feedback. Thanks for being an NNA member!


Again, if your newspaper is an NNA member and there are any complications, just contact Max or Tonda. 

Is your newspaper a NNA member? If not, sign up to get help and support efforts like this one. Beyond that, enjoy the other perks such as industry news and solid advice in PubAux and from the NNA website, excellent conventions and meetings, reduced rates on libel and health insurance. Go to

Thanks and a tip of the hat to Max Heath, Tonda Rush and NNA. 

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