Readers in areas served by community newspapers continue to prefer the community newspaper as their primary source of local news and advertising according to the 2011 National Newspaper Association research survey. The survey, conducted by the RJI Insight and Survey Center, a program of the Reynolds Journalism Institute, shows that readers prefer the printed copy to the online version, with 48 percent saying the never read the local news online.
Since 2005, NNA has done research on how people read and what they think about their local newspaper. Results have been consistent over the years, even as sample and community sizes have been adjusted slightly
Other highlights from the research include:
- 74% of people in communities with a newspaper circulation under 15,000 read a local newspaper each week.
- 74% of those readers, on average, share their papers with 2.33 persons
- They spent about 40 minutes reading their local newspapers
- 73% read most or all of their community newspapers
- 61% of readers read local news very often in their community newspapers, while 48% say they never read local news online (only 11 percent say they read local news very often online)
- Of those going online for local news, 52% found it on the local newspaper’s website, compared to 20% for sites such as Yahoo, MSN or Google, and 25% for the website of a local television station
- 40% read editorials or letters to the editor very often in their newspapers, while 64% never read editorials or letters to the editor online
- 80% think governments should be required to publish public notices in newspapers
- Of those with Internet access at home, 89% have broadband access
The local community newspaper is the primary source of information about the local community for 51.8 % of respondents compared to seeking information from friends and relatives (16%) and TV (13.2%). Readers are seven times more likely to get their news from their community newspapers than from the internet (7.4%). Fewer than 6% say their primary local news source is radio.
NNA President Reed Afinson, publisher or the Swift County (MN) Monitor-News in Benson, Minn., said the study demonstrates that citizens believe in newspapers.
“The survey shows a majority of respondents believe that the newspaper does a better job of providing background and depth on stories essential to citizens,” Anfinson said. “Further, the newspaper is more useful to them personally than any other news source. It not only highlights the strong bond between local communities and their newspapers, but demonstrates that people do value good journalism.”
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