ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Editorial - Don't believe myths about newspapers

If people hear something enough times, they may start to believe it - even if it's untrue. Consider newspapers. Some seem to think that it is a failing industry that will soon be a thing of the past. Not true. A July article in The Inlander, a mo...

If people hear something enough times, they may start to believe it - even if it's untrue.

Consider newspapers. Some seem to think that it is a failing industry that will soon be a thing of the past.

Not true.

A July article in The Inlander, a monthly trade publication that offers information for newspapers across the country, was entitled "Seven myth-busters about newspapers." In it, John F. Sturm, president of the National Newspaper Association of America, debunks many notions people have about newspapers, including:

Myth: No one reads newspapers anymore

ADVERTISEMENT

Reality: More than 104 million adults read a print newspaper every day, more than 115 million on Sundays. That's more people than watch the Super Bowl (94 million), American Idol (23 million) or that typically watch the late local news (65 million).

Myth: Young people no longer read newspapers.

Reality: 61 percent of 18 to 24 year olds and 15 to 34 year olds read a newspaper in an average week and 65 percent of them read a newspaper or visited a newspaper website in the past week.

Myth: Newspaper readership is tanking.

Reality: Average weekday newspaper readership declined a mere 1.8 percent between 2007 and 2008, and about 7 percent since its peak in 2002. Compare that to the 10 percent decline in the prime time TV audience in 2007 alone. Meanwhile, newspapers' Web audience has grown nearly 75 percent since 2004, to 73 million unique visitors a month.

Myth: Many newspapers are going out of business.

Reality: Newspapers, as individual businesses, by and large remain profitable enterprises - with operating margins that Wall Street analysts estimate will generally average in the low to mid-teens during 2009. While that may be down from historical highs, such margins would be the envy of many other industries today.

Myth: Newspaper advertising doesn't work.

ADVERTISEMENT

Reality: Google's own research shows that 56 percent of consumers researched or purchased products they saw in a newspaper.

Myth: There are no creative options in newspapers.

Reality: Newspaper advertising options have exploded and now include shape and polybag ads, post-it notes, "we prints," scented ads, taste-it ads, glow-in-the-dark, belly bands and temporary tattoos, as well as event and database marketing, behavorial targeting, e-mail blasts, e-newsletters and more.

Myth: If newspapers close, you will still be able to get news from other sources.

Reality: Newspapers make a larger investment in journalism than any other medium. Most of the content from "aggregators" and other media originated with newspapers.

So the next time you hear someone bad-mouthing newspapers and their future, don't fall for it. Be a myth buster and set them straight.

What To Read Next
The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.
This week in history in Douglas County.
This week in history in Douglas County.
The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.