United States General Accounting Office GAO Report to the Chairmen, Committee on Appropriations and Committee on Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate June 1997 SUBSCRIPTIONS AND NEWS CLIPPINGS Expenditures and Related Information Reported by Federal Organizations GAO/GGD-97-99 United States GAO General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 General Government Division B-272705 June 27, 1997 The Honorable Ted Stevens Chairman, Committee on Appropriations United States Senate The Honorable Fred Thompson Chairman, Committee on Governmental Affairs United States Senate Federal departments and agencies subscribe to newspapers, magazines, periodicals, and automated news services to enable their employees to keep informed of current developments relating to the activities of their organizations. As another method of keeping these employees informed of such developments, many departments and agencies also produce news clippings products.1 This report responds to your request for information on executive branch expenditures2 for both subscriptions and news clippings operations in fiscal year 1996. As agreed with your offices, this report also provides department and agency information on (1) the number of subscription copies of selected major newspapers that are normally used to prepare news clippings products, (2) the employee benefits reported from subscriptions and news clippings products, (3) whether guidance is provided to employees about procuring subscriptions and producing and distributing news clippings products, and (4) whether the departments and agencies have made or plan to make changes to improve their subscriptions procurement processes and news clippings operations. To obtain the requested information, we sent data collection forms to 14 executive branch departments and 29 of the independent agencies that had 500 employees or more (hereafter referred to as federal organizations). As agreed, however, because of the broad scope and relatively short timeframe for completing our review, we did not independently verify the accuracy of the information provided. We also did not validate the benefits reported by the federal organizations. The data provided by the federal organizations ranged from actual expenditures to estimates that were based on only a few of the organizational components. 1 News clippings products are generally prepared by government employees’ cutting out articles of particular interest to their organization, which are then reproduced and disseminated to others in the organization. News clippings products may also be obtained by contracting out for this service. 2 Expenditures for subscriptions include payments for newspapers, magazines, periodicals, and automated news services. Expenditures for news clippings operations include the following elements: personnel, subscriptions, duplication/copying, distribution, and contracted services. Page 1 GAO/GGD-97-99 Subscriptions and News Clippings B-272705 Furthermore, one federal organization3 did not respond to our survey. Also, two federal organizations4 provided 1995 data because they were included as a part of our survey pretest before 1996 data were available, but we included these organizations in our analysis. Our work was conducted in Washington, D.C., from May 1996 to May 1997, in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Appendix I is a more detailed discussion of our objectives, scope, and methodology. On May 2, 1997, we requested comments on a draft of this report from the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). On June 19, 1997, OMB’s Acting Associate Director for Administration told us OMB had no comments on the draft report. For fiscal year 1996, 42 federal organizations reported estimated Results in Brief expenditures of about $73 million for subscriptions to newspapers, magazines, periodicals, and automated news services and about $8 million for news clippings operations. Although federal organizations provided us with these expenditure data, it should be emphasized that some of these data are estimates only. Federal organizations do not typically account for these expenditures separately from other types of expenditures, and some reporting officials told us they had difficulty making accurate estimates. Federal organizations reported procuring multiple copies of major newspapers, such as The Washington Post, that are normally used to prepare news clippings products. While a few federal organizations reported procuring 1 or 2 copies of these major newspapers, other organizations reported procuring over 200 copies of 1 or more of the newspapers. Federal organizations generally reported that subscriptions and news clippings products benefit their employees and increase productivity. Federal organizations cited several examples of these benefits, such as providing employees with current information, being a valuable research tool, providing leads for starting agency investigations, supporting their organizations’ mission of providing services to citizens, and providing senior staff with information to respond to inquiries by reporters about recent events. 3 As of May 30, 1997, the Department of State had not responded to our request for information. 4 The Departments of Commerce and Transportation provided fiscal year 1995 data. Page 2 GAO/GGD-97-99 Subscriptions and News Clippings B-272705 The procurement of subscriptions by executive agencies, like the acquisition of other services, is covered under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).5 Twenty-eight of the federal organizations responding to our survey, or at least 1 of their components, reported having guidance for procuring subscriptions. Twenty-two of the 28 federal organizations reported providing organization-specific guidance, such as requiring management approval to ensure that the subscriptions are mission-related. Furthermore, 24 federal organizations, or at least 1 of their components, reported having guidance on how news clippings products should be produced and distributed in the organization, such as sending the news clippings products only to high-level officials. Several federal organizations noted recent or planned actions to improve their subscriptions procurement processes or preparation of their news clippings products. These actions included reducing overall spending on subscriptions, centralizing the subscription process, eliminating subscriptions to electronic wire services in favor of available Internet services, and changing news clippings products from paper copies to the electronic media. As a means of disseminating information to their employees, most federal Background organizations expend funds on subscriptions to newspapers, magazines, and periodicals and often to automated news services. Most federal organizations use a portion of their subscriptions to prepare news clippings products for distribution to their employees. The subscriptions reported by the federal organizations showed a variety of business, scientific and technical, and government publications that pertain specifically to their organizations’ missions, while other publications are more general in nature. For example, business publications procured by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) included the American Banker and Business Week, scientific and technical publications procured by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) included Space News and Robotics World, government publications procured by the Smithsonian Institution included the Congressional Yellow Book and the Federal Staff Directory, and general publications procured by the Department of the Air Force included Quality Management and a variety of local newspapers. 5 FAR Subpart 2.1 defines an executive agency as (1) an executive department, military department, or any independent establishment as stated or defined in 5 U.S.C. 101, 102, and 104(1), and (2) any wholly owned government corporation listed in 31 U.S.C. 9101. Page 3 GAO/GGD-97-99 Subscriptions and News Clippings B-272705 OMB has responsibility for oversight of executive branch expenditures, but federal organizations are not required to specifically identify subscriptions expenditures as a part of their appropriations requests. However, federal organizations are authorized to spend appropriated funds to procure subscriptions to assist in performing their missions.6 The FAR provides federal organizations with uniform policies and procedures for acquiring goods and services, which include the procurement of subscriptions. For fiscal year 1996,7 federal organizations responding to our survey Responding Federal reported estimated expenditures of $73.3 million on subscriptions to Organizations newspapers, magazines, periodicals, and automated news services and Reported Estimated $7.7 million for news clippings operations. These two totals should not be combined because some of the subscription expenditures were also Expenditures for included as expenditures for news clippings products. Subscriptions and Furthermore, the nature of the data received from the federal News Clippings organizations varied greatly, ranging from actual expenditures to estimates Operations of a sample of organizational components. Many federal organizations indicated that their figures were estimates because expenditure totals for subscriptions and/or news clippings operations were not readily available. Some federal organizations, such as the Department of Justice and NASA, told us that these expenditures do not have an object class in the budget and are often decentralized within the federal organizations. Also, some federal organizations, such as the Department of Health and Human Services and the General Services Administration (GSA), said that their employees use credit cards to purchase subscriptions, which makes tracking expenditures even more difficult because subscriptions cannot easily be distinguished from other types of purchases. As of May 30, 1997, we had received responses from 42 of the 43 federal organizations we surveyed. The Department of State did not respond to our survey. When reporting its expenditures, the Executive Office of the President only provided information for its two components with the most employees—the White House and OMB. Also, GSA provided information only on a sample of its components, and the results of that sample could 6 Under 31 U.S.C. 3324 (d)(2), agencies are expressly authorized to use appropriated funds to purchase subscriptions without violating the advance payment prohibition set forth in this section. 7 The Departments of Transportation and Commerce provided fiscal year 1995 expenditures because these federal organizations were a part of our pretest, which was done before fiscal year 1996 figures were available. Page 4 GAO/GGD-97-99 Subscriptions and News Clippings B-272705 not be projected to the entire agency; therefore, GSA’s reported expenditures are understated. Table 1 shows the 43 federal organizations that we surveyed and their reported expenditures for subscriptions and news clippings operations for fiscal year 1996. Table 1: Expenditures Reported by Federal Organizations for Dollars in thousands Subscriptions and News Clippings Fiscal year 1996 expenditures Operations, Fiscal Year 1996 News clippings Federal organization Subscriptions operations Agency for International Development $400.7 $65.2 Armed Forces Retirement Home 30.6 0 Commodity Futures Trading Commission 415.8 153.4 Corporation for National Service 6.0 16.9 Department of Agriculture 8,066.9 664.8 Department of Commercea 500.2 380.8 Department of Defense 4,690.9 922.9 Department of Education 826.4 318.6 Department of Energy 13,387.8 524.7 Department of Health and Human Services 9,455.0 295.4 Department of Housing and Urban Development 1,202.3 194.3 Department of the Interior 4,238.6 263.3 Department of Justice 7,714.1 517.7 Department of Labor 1,067.4 346.7 b b Department of State a Department of Transportation 67.0 221.9 Department of the Treasury 6,099.0 376.3 Department of Veterans Affairs 312.6 98.0 Environmental Protection Agency 1,577.2 282.5 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 50.9 25.0 c Executive Office of the President 365.9 201.0 Federal Communications Commission 262.0 79.7 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation 936.5 46.0 Federal Emergency Management Agency 87.0 61.3 Federal Reserve System 723.7 1.5 Federal Trade Commission 418.3 42.5 General Services Administrationd 79.8 57.8 National Aeronautics and Space Administration 2,749.5 115.9 (continued) Page 5 GAO/GGD-97-99 Subscriptions and News Clippings B-272705 Dollars in thousands Fiscal year 1996 expenditures News clippings Federal organization Subscriptions operations National Archives and Records Administration 93.0 25.3 National Credit Union Administration 37.5 4.5 National Labor Relations Board 194.7 42.0 National Science Foundation 101.2 44.9 Nuclear Regulatory Commission 423.4 144.5 Office of Personnel Management 170.9 52.8 Peace Corps 314.7 8.0 Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation 183.4 70.3 Railroad Retirement Board 49.2 0 Securities and Exchange Commission 1,458.1 142.7 Small Business Administration 75.0 19.0 Smithsonian Institution 789.0 48.1 Social Security Administration 782.7 230.0 Tennessee Valley Authority 345.2 63.7 United States Information Agency 2,589.9 539.3 Total $73,340.0 $7,709.4e Note: The totals for subscriptions and news clippings should not be added together because some of the subscriptions expenditures are also included as news clippings expenditures. a The Departments of Commerce and Transportation provided fiscal year 1995 data. b The Department of State did not respond to our survey. c The Executive Office of the President reported data only for the White House and OMB. d GSA provided data for only a sample of components; therefore, the results cannot be projected to the entire agency. e Total does not add due to rounding. Source: Federal organization responses to the GAO survey. Federal organizations responding to our survey reported receiving Responding Federal multiple copies of the same newspapers that were used to produce news Organizations clippings products. These subscription copies were generally provided to Reported Procuring the federal organization’s management officials with some copies of the newspapers going to the organization’s libraries and other centralized Multiple Copies of locations. We specifically looked at federal organizations’ subscriptions to Some Newspapers three major newspapers (The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Page 6 GAO/GGD-97-99 Subscriptions and News Clippings B-272705 and The New York Times) since these newspapers were almost always used by federal organizations in their news clippings operations. Table 2 shows the number of copies of these newspapers that we were able to identify from the data each federal organization provided for fiscal year 1996. These newspapers usually made up only a small portion of a federal organization’s subscriptions because most of the subscriptions were for periodicals that appeared to be either mission-related (such as professional and technical journals) or more general in nature. For example, at the Department of Energy’s headquarters technical library, only about $39,000 (or 4 percent) of its $970,000 in total reported expenditures on subscriptions was for the newspapers it procured in fiscal year 1996. Table 2: Estimated Number of Copies of Selected Newspapers Procured by Federal Organizations, Fiscal Year 1996 Number of procured newspaper copies The Wall The Street Washington The New Federal organization Journal Post York Times Agency for International Development 19 4 6 Armed Forces Retirement Home 3 2 1 Commodity Futures Trading Commission 25 13 10 Corporation for National Service 1 1 1 Department of Agriculture 71 40 24 Department of Commercea 91 39 58 Department of Defense 126 121 55 Department of Education 17 20 16 Department of Energy 200 55 70 Department of Health and Human Services 45 67 72 Department of Housing and Urban Development 46 50 45 Department of the Interior 31 34 23 Department of Justice 231 151 192 Department of Labor 62 20 32 b b b Department of State a Department of Transportation 16 19 16 Department of the Treasury 285 97 119 Department of Veterans Affairs 17 2 3 Environmental Protection Agency 39 47 33 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 6 8 8 c Executive Office of the President 64 76 70 (continued) Page 7 GAO/GGD-97-99 Subscriptions and News Clippings B-272705 Number of procured newspaper copies The Wall The Street Washington The New Federal organization Journal Post York Times Federal Communications Commission 13 7 8 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation 399 1 2 Federal Emergency Management Agency 5 6 8 Federal Reserve System 104 15 63 Federal Trade Commission 45 14 10 General Services Administrationd 3 1 0 National Aeronautics and Space Administration 42 63 45 National Archives and Records Administration 3 5 3 National Credit Union Administration 0 0 0 National Labor Relations Board 2 2 2 National Science Foundation 11 8 13 Nuclear Regulatory Commission 24 18 22 Office of Personnel Management 23 33 20 Peace Corps 2 3 3 Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation 28 6 5 Railroad Retirement Board 8 1 1 Securities and Exchange Commission 66 13 31 Small Business Administration 32 18 14 Smithsonian Institution 10 14 18 Social Security Administration 6 15 4 Tennessee Valley Authority 8 3 5 United States Information Agency 304 470 468 Total 2,533 1,582 1,599 Note: Totals include subscriptions that were for daily (Monday through Friday) or more frequently; Sunday only, etc., subscriptions were not included. a The Departments of Commerce and Transportation provided fiscal year 1995 data. b The Department of State did not respond to our survey. c The Executive Office of the President reported data only for the White House and OMB. d GSA provided data from only a sample of components; therefore, the results cannot be projected to the entire agency. Source: Federal organization responses to the GAO survey. Page 8 GAO/GGD-97-99 Subscriptions and News Clippings B-272705 In our survey, we asked federal organizations to describe any benefits to Responding Federal their employees of providing subscriptions to newspapers, magazines, and Organizations Cited periodicals and producing their news clippings products. Federal Benefits of organizations that responded to this question generally said that subscriptions and news clippings products help provide their employees Subscriptions and with information necessary to perform their jobs. However, some News Clippings organizations provided the following more specific benefits. For example: Products • SEC estimated that approximately 16 percent of all active SEC investigations began with a lead from the news media. • The Tennessee Valley Authority said that there is a compelling need for timely information in the changing utility industry. • The Department of Education noted that news clippings products provide senior staff with information to respond to inquiries by reporters about recent events. • The Commodity Futures Trading Commission said that, in addition to keeping its staff current, its news clippings products provide a valuable research tool that is also used by other government agencies. • The National Science Foundation reported that its highly technical employees would find it almost impossible to effectively carry out its mission without access to the many specialized journals available through subscriptions. • According to one of Energy’s laboratories, its subscriptions give employees fast, convenient access to information contained in primarily scientific and engineering professional journals that report research findings. • The library at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center reported that subscriptions provide employees with access to scientific and engineering publications that are essential to Goddard’s role as NASA’s Lead Center for Scientific Research. According to some federal organizations, providing subscriptions to their customers is a part of their missions. The Armed Forces Retirement Home said that the vast majority of its subscriptions are provided for its residents, not its employees. The Office of Personnel Management’s Eastern Management Development Center noted that subscription copies are used in its seminars and as reading references for training participants. Also, several of the schools within the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs noted that newspapers, magazines, and periodicals are used by their students as learning tools and by their teachers as instructional tools. Page 9 GAO/GGD-97-99 Subscriptions and News Clippings B-272705 When responding to our survey, 28 federal organizations, or at least 1 of Some Reporting their components, reported that they had guidance for procuring Federal Organizations subscriptions.8 The procurement of subscriptions by executive agencies, Had Guidance for like the acquisition of other services, is covered under the FAR;9 however, some federal organizations said that they also had their own specific Obtaining guidance in place. The following 28 organizations reported having Subscriptions and guidance: Disseminating News Department of Agriculture Clippings Products Department of Commerce Department of Defense Department of Education Department of Energy Department of Health and Human Services Department of Housing and Urban Development Department of the Interior Department of Justice Department of Labor Department of the Treasury Department of Veterans Affairs Environmental Protection Agency Executive Office of the President Federal Communications Commission Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Federal Emergency Management Agency Federal Trade Commission General Services Administration National Aeronautics and Space Administration National Archives and Records Administration National Labor Relations Board Nuclear Regulatory Commission Office of Personnel Management Railroad Retirement Board Smithsonian Institution Social Security Administration United States Information Agency 8 Some of these federal organizations used the term “guidance” to refer to the FAR. However, the FAR, when applicable, is more than guidance because it has the force and effect of law. 9 The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Reserve System are not covered by the FAR. Page 10 GAO/GGD-97-99 Subscriptions and News Clippings B-272705 Of the 28 federal organizations that reported having guidance, 3 referred to general guidance such as the FAR, and 3 indicated that they had unwritten guidance or provided no documentation of it. The remaining 22 federal organizations provided copies of their organization-specific detailed guidance. For example, several of the federal organizations provided the following information: • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provided a copy of its directive called the Periodical Subscription Management Program.10 This directive specifies that (1) subscriptions to periodicals for direct delivery to Commission offices are to be limited to those essential for the work of the office and (2) since employees in the Commission’s bureaus and offices have access to assorted publications and newspapers via electronic databases on their computers, general interest, academic, trade, and loose-leaf publications are not to be purchased if they are available on-line. • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in its manual on library services,11 states that the library is to acquire primarily advanced books and journals containing information and data the Commission staff need to perform official functions. The library also is to obtain news-type publications describing recent events or developments of interest to Commission staff. • The Department of Labor has an internal manual section12 that addresses the specific numbers of copies of certain newspapers (such as The Washington Post) and magazines (such as Time and Newsweek) that can be purchased by officials at headquarters and in the regions. Purchases of these publications are limited because employees already have access to them through news clippings products prepared by the Office of Information and Public Affairs. Furthermore, 24 federal organizations, or at least 1 of their components, reported having organization-specific guidance for who is to receive copies of news clippings products. This guidance was usually not a formally written document. For example, the Social Security Administration reported that its guidance is set at the discretion of the Press Officer, and that currently news clippings products are distributed to Associate Commissioners and executive staff. The following federal organizations reported having news clippings guidance: 10 FCC Directive FCCINST 1103.1, January 29, 1996. 11 NRC Manual, Chapter NRC-0214, Library Services, September 27, 1982. 12 Department of Labor Manual, DLMS-2-1218, January 1983. Page 11 GAO/GGD-97-99 Subscriptions and News Clippings B-272705 Agency for International Development Department of Agriculture Department of Commerce Department of Defense Department of Health and Human Services Department of Housing and Urban Development Department of the Interior Department of Justice Department of Labor Department of Veterans Affairs Environmental Protection Agency Executive Office of the President Federal Communications Commission Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation National Aeronautics and Space Administration National Archives and Records Administration National Credit Union Administration National Science Foundation Nuclear Regulatory Commission Office of Personnel Management Small Business Administration Social Security Administration Tennessee Valley Authority United States Information Agency Several federal organizations cited actions and/or plans to improve their Responding Federal subscriptions procurement process or their news clippings operations. For Organizations Cited example, two federal organizations specifically mentioned centralizing Efforts to Improve their subscriptions processes. As a result of centralizing its subscription procurement process, the Federal Trade Commission reported having Subscriptions reduced duplication and increased sharing of resources by routing many Procurement publications and information to several staff members. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) reported having centralized its Processes and News subscriptions acquisition process for cost and labor savings. FDIC also said Clippings Operations its library has full-text stories on-line; contracts are pending to put other stories on-line; and the library plans to examine its number of subscriptions to printed newspapers. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it is planning to eliminate its Associated Press newswire service, which costs $28,000, in favor of the Internet services currently available from more than 55 Page 12 GAO/GGD-97-99 Subscriptions and News Clippings B-272705 newspapers. The National Labor Relations Board said that, beginning with fiscal year 1997, its subscription to the Daily Labor report changed from paper copies, which cost $176,820, to electronic copies, which will cost $36,000, a savings of $140,820. The Railroad Retirement Board reported that as a result of a major review of all subscriptions it has reduced its spending on subscriptions by $30,000 (21 percent) since fiscal year 1994. The Agency for International Development said that its labor costs for news clippings products had declined and distribution had increased with the use of on-line services. Paper copies of press clips are delivered to the Administrator’s morning senior staff meeting only. Employees may visit the press office and make their own copies; press clips are also available daily via E-mail and agency intranet. Several federal organizations, or one of their components, said they were considering automating their news clippings operations in some manner (e.g., to use local area networks, E-mail, or the Internet). These organizations included the following: the Department of Education; the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health; the Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the Tennessee Valley Authority; the Securities and Exchange Commission; the National Science Foundation; and the Corporation for National Service. We are sending copies of this report to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Secretaries of each executive department, the head of each independent agency, and the Ranking Minority Members of your Committees. Copies will be made available to others on request. Major contributors to this report are listed in appendix II. If you have any questions concerning this report, please call me on (202) 512-4232. Bernard L. Ungar Associate Director, Federal Management and Workforce Issues Page 13 GAO/GGD-97-99 Subscriptions and News Clippings Appendix I Objectives, Scope, and Methodology As agreed with your offices, our objectives were to identify the following information on the executive branch departments and largest independent agencies: (1) the total expenditures for subscriptions to newspapers, magazines, and periodicals as well as automated news services for fiscal year 1996; (2) the total expenditures associated with news clippings operations for fiscal year 1996; (3) the number of subscriptions federal organizations received of selected major newspapers; (4) the benefits federal organizations said their employees receive from both subscriptions and news clippings products; (5) whether federal organizations provided guidance for the procurement of subscriptions and the production and distribution of news clippings products; and (6) any examples of changes federal organizations have made or plan to make to improve their subscriptions procurement processes and news clippings operations. We chose the 14 executive branch departments and 29 independent agencies that had 500 employees or more (according to Office of Personnel Management data of Jan. 1996) because these federal organizations were the most likely to have the largest share of expenditures for subscriptions and news clippings operations. We developed and pretested a data collection form to obtain this information from two federal organizations before sending the final version of the survey to the entire universe. Because of the number of federal organizations involved and the timeframe we were asking for their responses, we delivered the majority of our surveys by hand or by Express Mail on November 1, 1996. In our survey, we asked each federal organization for its fiscal year 1996 expenditures and other related information for subscriptions and news clippings operations. We specifically asked that all federal organization components be included, even field offices. Our only exceptions on obtaining fiscal year 1996 expenditures were for the Departments of Commerce and Transportation. We pretested our survey at these two departments using fiscal year 1995 expenditures since the fiscal year 1996 expenditures were not yet available. Because of the difficulty Commerce and Transportation had in obtaining this information, we did not request that they update their figures for fiscal year 1996. However, we did ask Commerce and Transportation officials if they believed that their fiscal year 1996 figures would be substantially different from their fiscal year 1995 figures, and they said they did not. The federal organizations responded to our survey using a variety of formats and levels of completeness. For example, some federal Page 14 GAO/GGD-97-99 Subscriptions and News Clippings Appendix I Objectives, Scope, and Methodology organizations prepared detailed, consolidated lists of subscriptions by component, while other organizations submitted voluminous copies of individual procurement requests for subscriptions, with no organizationwide consolidation. Also, some federal organizations provided complete and detailed responses by component to all items in our survey, but others did not. For example, one department submitted information that was not tabulated accurately at either the component- or department-level. In this case, we obtained the department’s agreement with our tabulation of its information. Many federal organization responses required some follow-up. If we had questions about the submissions, we contacted organization officials for clarification. However, we did not independently verify the accuracy of the information provided. Some federal organizations noted that their figures were difficult to obtain and were estimates because (1) organizations had no separate budget line item for subscription purchases or news clippings operations, (2) decentralized operations made it difficult to collect such data, and (3) the use of credit cards for subscription purchases made it difficult to track those expenditures. To address our objectives, we processed the federal organizations’ responses as follows: • For our expenditure totals for subscriptions and news clippings operations, we used the figures from the federal organization’s summary section. Even though a few subscriptions were for multiple years, we included the entire amount of expenditures if it was made in fiscal year 1996. • From the listings of federal organization subscriptions, where possible, we counted the number of subscription copies each organization received of three selected major newspapers (The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times), which were also the newspapers that most of the organizations used in their news clippings operations. The federal organizations showed the subscriptions in a number of forms—e.g., daily (Monday through Friday) or more frequently or Sunday only. When tabulating our total number of subscription copies for a newspaper, we included only the subscriptions that were for daily or more frequent issues. • From narrative responses, we reviewed the benefits that federal organizations said they received from both subscriptions and news clippings products and used some of these responses as examples. Page 15 GAO/GGD-97-99 Subscriptions and News Clippings Appendix I Objectives, Scope, and Methodology • We reviewed the narrative responses for those federal organizations answering “yes” to our questions about whether they provided guidance to employees on procuring subscriptions and distributing news clippings products, and we used some of these responses as examples. • We reviewed the narrative responses for those agencies answering “yes” to our question about making or planning to make changes to their news clippings operations, and we used some of these responses as examples. Some federal organizations also cited improvements that they were making in their subscription procurement processes, and we used examples of these as well. Page 16 GAO/GGD-97-99 Subscriptions and News Clippings Appendix II Major Contributors to This Report James H. Burow, Assistant Director General Government Michael W. Jarvis, Evaluator-in-Charge Division, Washington, Warren Smith, Senior Evaluator D.C. Thomas M. Beall, Social Science Analyst Stuart M. Kaufman, Social Science Analyst Vasiliki Theodoropoulos, Communications Analyst Susan Michal-Smith, Senior Attorney Office of the General Counsel, Washington, D.C. Linda J. Libician, Senior Evaluator Dallas Field Office James W. Turkett, Senior Evaluator (410040) Page 17 GAO/GGD-97-99 Subscriptions and News Clippings Ordering Information The first copy of each GAO report and testimony is free. Additional copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the following address, accompanied by a check or money order made out to the Superintendent of Documents, when necessary. VISA and MasterCard credit cards are accepted, also. Orders for 100 or more copies to be mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent. Orders by mail: U.S. General Accounting Office P.O. Box 6015 Gaithersburg, MD 20884-6015 or visit: Room 1100 700 4th St. NW (corner of 4th and G Sts. 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Subscriptions and News Clippings: Expenditures and Related Information Reported by Federal Organizations
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-06-27.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)