College Students Addicted to College Newspapers

June 3, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Free-Standing Inserts & Circulars | Media & Entertainment | Newspapers | Social Media | Youth & Gen X

Despite declines in mainstream newspaper readership, college newspapers are an integral part of students’ lives, with over three-quarters (76%) of them saying they have read their college newspaper in the past month, according to a recent Alloy Media + Marketing study.

That figure is an impressive 92% for those campus papers that publish on a daily basis, the College Newspaper Audience study, conducted in partnership with MORI Research, found.

More findings, below, from the study.

A Must-Read

  • A considerable 82% report reading their campus newspaper in the last three months.
  • Some 55% report that they’ve read their paper in the last week.
  • Though internet usage among college students continues to gain strength, the print edition still garners the most eyeballs, with just less than 20% saying they have accessed their campus newspaper online in the past 30 days.
  • Though just over one-third of students say they read their local, daily newspaper on a weekly basis, the figure pales in comparison to the 79% of students who reported engaging with their daily campus newspaper in the past 7 days.
  • Some 53% of students say they read the college paper while on campus, and another 29% say they do so at home.
  • Pass-along rates are strong as well, with an average of 3.2 students sharing an issue.

Range of Information

  • The college newspaper provides students a wide range of information, including where they seek out advertising information: Close to three-quarters (73%) of readers say they look at the advertisements in their college paper.
  • Campus news is top of mind, with 90% of those surveyed saying it’s important to find out what’s happening within the campus environs.
  • Some 44% state that campus newspaper advertising is also information they read and seek out.
  • Entertainment-related news, sports and current affairs rank as top areas of interest for students.

Make Me an Offer

  • More than three-quarters of students (78%), in particular female students, report using coupons or promotional codes.
  • The most popular coupon categories and reported redemption are for food, including restaurants, and clothing categories; big box store coupons were close behind.
  • Advertising and editorial content in the campus paper have significant impact on students’ actions. Asked what they have done as result of reading an ad or article in the paper, almost 80% reported reacting in some way:
    • Word of mouth, consistently a strong driver of message sharing within this group, comes out with 61% “telling a friend” about something they saw.
    • Over half (55%) attended an event as a result of something they read.
    • Over 40% saved an article or ad for future reference.
    • 36% continued to research products or services online after reading it in print.
    • Also significant, 1 in 5 decided to call or visit a retail store in response to an offer.

Faculty and other Staff

The survey also found that faculty and staff members are avid readers of the campus paper.

  • Over three-quarters (76%) of faculty members have read their publication in the last month, and over half (51%) have read it in the last week.
  • As with students, campus news ranks high in importance (92%) for what they look for from their paper.
  • Some 63% say they look at the paper’s advertising content, and almost half (47%) rate advertising important to the paper’s content.
  • Some 79% report that they have taken some type of action following reading an ad or article in the paper:
    • 61% say they attended an event that they read about.
    • 56% passed information along to a friend.
    • 44% saved information for future use.
    • 28% followed up with a call or visit to a retail store.
    • 25% continued to research a product or service online.
    • Nearly?one in 5 purchased a product or service they read about.
  • Nine of 10 faculty members surveyed report using coupons, and 88% state that they have redeemed one across a variety of retail locations.

About the study: The study surveyed over 1,200 college students from 550 universities across 50 states capturing students’ reading habits and preferences as well as data on students’ behaviors and attitudes toward advertising in the campus paper. The study also surveyed faculty and staff members from over 200 universities.

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