Editorial: Community newspapers continue to show strong readership

Last month, the National Newspaper Association (NNA) released results of their fifth annual readership survey on the patterns of community newspaper readers. Working with the research arm of the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism, NNA tests reactions of people living in smaller communities served by local newspapers. For the 2010 survey, readership for towns with newspapers that have circulations of 8,000 or less were sampled. The survey shows that community newspapers have remained popular.

The survey revealed that communities served by community newspapers continue to demonstrate heavy reliance upon their local papers for news and information. Readers also say they read most or all of their community newspapers (78 percent), and of those going online for local news, 55 percent found it on the local newspaper's website, compared to 17 percent for sites such as Yahoo, MSN or Google, and 26 percent for the website of a local TV station.

Since 2005, NNA has done research on how people read and what they think about their local newspapers. The community size has not significantly affected outcomes. The surveys show that community newspapers have remained popular. The data indicates that the positive findings are consistent with the earlier surveys. The data includes -

• Seventy-three percent of those surveyed read a local newspaper each week.

• Those readers, on average, share their paper with 3.34 persons.

• They spend about 37.5 minutes reading their local newspapers.

• Forty-one percent keep their community newspapers six or more days.

• Sixty-two percent of readers read local news very often in their community newspapers, while 54 percent say they never read local news online (only 9 percent say they read local news very often online).

• Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed read local education news very often in their newspapers, while 67 percent never read local education news online.

• Thirty percent read local sports news very often in their newspapers, while 67 percent never read local sports online.

• Thirty-five percent read editorials or letters to the editor very often in their newspapers, while 74 percent (nearly three quarters) never read editorials or letters to the editor online.

While the Navajo-Hopi Observer maintains and actively promotes our own website, we still firmly believe in the value of print. Reading the news without an actual newspaper in hand is just not the same. Reading the news online lacks a feeling of community. Thank you for continuing to read and support our product each week.

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