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March 6, 2008 / Toby Dayton

Print’s Still Not Dead Yet (It’s Thriving!)

A while back, I wrote a post entitled ‘Print’s Not Dead Yet!’ that highlighted a few newspaper deals that confirmed the fact that some media companies still see value in newspapers. While everyone (myself included) continues to bash daily newspapers (and for good reason given their abysmal performance over the past decade), one might reasonably assume that print, as a media channel, faces the same dismal prospect of extinction. The facts, however, indicate otherwise.

While metro dailies continue to hemorrhage readers, subscribers, advertisers, earnings, and employees, local, non-daily community papers are thriving. As summarized in an article on followthemedia.com, the National Newspaper Association (NNA), using data collected by the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism, found that 83% of Americans over the age of 18 read a community newspaper each week. The study indicates that the phenomenal readership, and corresponding success in attracting advertisers, is a result of publishers being far more proactive in developing programs and initiatives that create value for both readers and advertisers. These include special sections, products, online resources, and innovative cross-selling opportunities.

Most of all, what these papers concentrate on better than any other local media source, including the daily newspapers, is…. LOCAL NEWS! What a shock. According to the survey, the 2 most important content categories in the local community paper are government news (94%) and education news (92%).

While the readership numbers for non-dailies are stellar enough, what is equally as impressive is the fact that the average time a reader spends reading the local community paper is 41.8 minutes, up 10% from the 2005 survey. As well, nearly a third of readers kept their local non-daily paper for more than 6 days. These statistics clearly demonstrate that the vast majority of people in this country want to know what is going on around them, in their local communities, in local businesses, in their schools, and in their city council meetings. It also proves that print, despite the web or perhaps even propelled by the web, remains a terrific media vehicle to deliver content to readers – as long as it’s content that people want to read.

[tags]Non-Daily Newspapers, Community Newspapers, Community Papers, Local Media, Local Newspapers, How To Grow Readership, What People Want, What People Want To Read About, Local News, City Council Meetings, School Board Meetings, Followthemedia.com, NNA, National Newspaper Association[/tags]


  1. John Doe / Mar 15 2008 1:28 am

    What is the average time a visitor spends reading your blog? What percentage of vistors is unique? Are you able to view statistics for your blog at the granular level?

  2. Toby Dayton / Mar 15 2008 9:43 am

    Thanks for your 2 comments. I do have some visibility into the time readers spend on the site (about 4-6 minutes), where they come from (the search phrases they used that gave a blog post of mine as a search result, or the link to my blog they clicked on on other sites/blogs), the hits (about 250 per day, 500-750 on a big day), unique visitors (about 150 per day, or 250 on a big day), etc. It’s been a lot of fun writing a blog and it’s a phenomenal way to truly understand search engine optimization and how the web (and even to some extent Google) work.

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