An Echo Press Editorial: Survey shows support for newspapers
The next time you hear someone talking smack about newspapers, kindly remind them that small, community newspapers share a deep connection with their readers and are the most trusted news source around.
A survey just bore that out — again. Ninety percent of the more than 1,000 people responding to the National Newspaper Association's 2018 readership survey said that their community newspaper informs them. And 73 percent said that their hometown paper provides valuable local shopping and advertising information.
When respondents were asked if they read a newspaper that is specific to their community, 64 percent said yes. Of those who answered yes, 74 percent said they look forward to reading their community newspaper, and 71 percent said they rely on it for local news and information.
The survey showed that 64 percent of survey respondents read a community newspaper either in print or online. When it comes to advertising, readers are most likely to trust and respond to ads they see in their community newspaper.
According to the survey, community newspapers rate as the most popular advertising medium when it comes to making purchasing and shopping decisions at local merchants, cited by 24 percent of respondents. Other less popular ad platforms include direct mailings at 18 percent, social media platforms at 16 percent, and in-store promotions at 13 percent.
The survey also shed light on an important part of newspapers — public notices, which keep an eye on what the government is doing with taxpayers' money. Notices include items like bid openings, proposed budgets, public hearings, delinquent tax lists and other government data.
According to the survey, respondents rated the importance of access to public notices a mean score of 5.72 on a 7-point scale, including a combined 80 percent who give a high score of five, six or seven. Even non-readers of community newspapers agree that access to public notices is important, with a mean score of 5.66.
Newspapers also play a big role in political races. People who read newspapers are the ones who are most likely to vote. When it comes to mid-term elections, 84 percent of community newspaper readers are very likely to vote this year, compared with only 61 percent of non-readers. Plus, 77 percent of community newspaper readers say they voted in the last election in their local community, compared with only 61 percent of non-readers.
This shows that readers of community newspapers tend to be more politically active than non-readers. In fact, according to the survey, 86 percent of the respondents said they were either "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to vote in the next election.
Additionally, 81 percent of community newspaper readers rely on local newspapers to learn about local candidates, far more than any other source. On the issue of trust, even non-readers of community newspapers trust community newspapers more than other sources, rating their overall trustworthiness a 3.71 mean score on a 7-point scale — higher than any other news source.
Despite all the slings and arrows directed at the mainstream media these days, the bond between community newspapers and their readers remains strong. We at the Echo Press are proud to be a part of that connection and we remain committed to providing readers with news and information they can trust.