Some competing media are heralding the end of newspapers, but, as a famous print journalist, Mark Twain, once mused, “News of my demise is greatly exaggerated.”
A University of Missouri study debunks most of the negative talk about newspapers and shows they remain prime information sources.
That is according to a study by the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri. Purpose of the 2011 Community Newspaper Readership Study was to examine public attitudes and perceptions about newspapers.
According to the study, newspapers such as the Hub and other papers that serve south-central Nebraska have strong followings.
New media, including smartphones and the Internet, provide some information — forecasts, football scores, etc., — almost instantaneously, but the demand is strong for local content that local newspapers and their websites publish.
According to the study, readers who have stayed with their newspapers the longest — an average of 25.4 years — are longtime residents with higher educations. These people feel a civic responsibility to know what’s happening.
Every source of media serves a niche. That’s true for television and radio, but for community news, people look to their newspaper. That connection is evident, as 86 percent said local newspapers informed them and 81 percent agreed that they relied on newspapers for local news and information.
Two-thirds of readers — 66 percent — either “strongly” or “somewhat” agreed that newspaper advertising helped them make purchasing decisions. Nearly eight out of 10 readers would rather look through ads in their newspaper than watch ads on television, if afforded a choice.
These survey findings and many others don’t paint newspapers as dinosaurs. Rather, they demonstrate through the perspective of readers who know what they are talking about that newspapers are still the cement binding their communities.
Newspapers on the demise? Don’t declare that in front of the 83 percent whose desire for local news and advertising makes them loyal newspaper readers.