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Newspapers make connections

There was an interesting study recently conducted for the National Newspaper Association by the Reynolds Journalism Institute at Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri.

The research recently was published in Publisher’s Auxiliary, a highly-respected monthly publication read by most in the newspaper industry.

Research revealed a strong connection between community newspapers and the communities they serve.

Our definitions of a community newspaper are one that is a part of the community, one that reports the good, the bad, and the ugly, and one that isn’t afraid to report bad news.

A community newspaper also should show all sides of an issue and only take sides on the editorial page.

The study showed in cities and towns served by a community newspaper of 25,000 circulation or less, 86 percent of the population read a community newspaper each week.

No other media has that kind of reach into and throughout those communities.

Here are some other interesting facts:

  • 73 percent read grocery advertisements and inserts. One-half rely most on their community newspapers for grocery shopping information. That’s twice that of the next most relied source — in-store promotions. And 10 times more than the third most relied upon source — direct mail.
  • 72 percent read hardware and home improvement advertisements.
  • Newspapers are the number one source for furniture shopping information and the number one source for major appliance shopping.
  • 79 percent of adults 18 and older read classified ads.

For most readers, they considered advertisements to be a part of the “news” with information about new businesses and new products and services.

There have been arguments in the past legal notices are not widely read and some consider them to be a waste of space and money.

Wrong.

The comprehensive study showed more than 60 percent of readers do read legal notices.

Being your community newspaper, we have taken great strides in making sure legal notices published in our newspapers are legible and easy to read. This is the reason why. People do actually read them.

The Auxiliary also noted strong communities are all about strong relationships and connections — citizens and their government; citizens and community businesses; citizens and local, social, or cultural institutions.

Nothing facilitates or creates those relationships and connections like America’s community newspapers.

It’s not always easy being all things to all people but it’s what we try to do.

If we can do things to make us a better community newspaper, let us know.

—SB

Last modified Dec. 10, 2008

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