Big news for small papers

Published 10:14 am Thursday, December 31, 2009

Numbers don’t lie.

According to an annual readership study performed by the National Newspaper Association (NNA), community newspapers – some 8,000 of them across the nation with circulations of 15,000 or less – remain viable in the areas they serve.

Online bloggers and media outlets have reported that the newspaper industry is failing. While it’s true that subscriptions and advertising is declining for the major daily newspapers, the NNA survey shows that community newspapers are the leading source of news and advertising in their market areas.

Eighty-one percent of those surveyed read a local newspaper each week. Those readers, on average, share their paper with 2.36 additional readers, thus the fact that 86 million Americans read a community newspaper every week.

Community newspaper readers spend about 40 minutes pouring through the pages. Nearly 40 percent keep their community newspaper more than a week (shelf life).

Of those going online for local news, 63 percent found it on the local newspaper’s website, compared to 17 percent for sites such as Yahoo, MSN or Google, and 12 percent to the website of a local television station.

The survey showed that 60 percent read local education (school) news; 62 percent read the editorial page and nearly half read local sports.

Three quarters of readers have read public notices in their community newspaper.

Nearly 80 percent said they rather read newspaper ads than watch TV advertising while almost 70 percent said advertising inserts found in newspapers helps drive purchasing decisions.

Survey respondents say they turn to their local newspaper for information, more so than local TV or radio.

This newspaper will continue its effort to supply our readers with all the news that shapes the communities we serve as well as providing local advertisers with a source to promote the sale of their products.