As legendary author Mark Twain would have said if he were alive today, “reports of the death of the community newspaper are greatly exaggerated.”
For many years we have heard that print journalism follows the path of the dinosaurs. We have heard that the public prefers to get information on television, on the Internet or on the radio and that no one buys newspapers anymore.
But I find it hard to believe, and a poll published by the National Newspaper Association validates my opinion.
The NNA commissioned a scientific survey of community newspapers, in which a Pennsylvania-based polling and research firm contacted 1,000 people to find out their views on community newspapers.
What they discovered may have surprised some people, at least outside the newspaper industry:
• Fully 90% of respondents said their community newspaper did a good job of keeping them informed.
• Nearly three out of four people said their hometown newspaper provides important information about shopping and local advertising.
• Almost two-thirds of respondents said they read a print or online community newspaper.
On the advertising front, readers said they are more likely to believe and respond to ads they see in their community newspaper than any other advertising source.
In this sense, community newspapers are ranked as the most popular advertising medium (by nearly one in four respondents) when it comes to purchasing and shopping decisions at local merchants.
Last but not least, newspapers were chosen as the most trusted source of information by more than a third of respondents, easily outpacing other forms of media.
I think one of the reasons why community newspapers like the Daily American Republic are still very popular is because we provide a very important service. We educate you on a variety of topics, including state and local government, local high school and college athletics, and much more.
We hold public and government entities accountable – a part of our job that sometimes doesn’t get much attention, but might be the most important part.
We also tell the stories of people here at DAR, from a couple celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary to a group of quilters sewing children’s clothes in Africa – and recently, celebrating the career of Poplar Bluff’s longest-serving police chief.
As we continue to grow our online presence and understand its value and importance, print remains an important part of what we do at DAR. A former co-worker of mine from when I worked out of state had a small Adobe Systems poster overlooking his desk that read these words:
“’Print is dead.’ It’s funny how many times you can hear those words – and yet the ink is still flowing, the presses are still running and the printing is still working. … You are printed. We are also printed. It’s where we started and where we proudly continue to go. The print is alive!
I couldn’t agree more.
Mike Buhler is an editor for the Daily American Republic. Contact him at [email protected].