69% of residents in areas served by a local newspaper with circulation of under 15,000 say that their local paper provides valuable local shopping and advertising information, while 81% rely on the paper for local news and information, according to a survey released in December 2011 conducted by the National Newspaper Association (NNA) and the research arm of the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism. 86% of respondents say their local newspaper is informative, and 3 in 4 look forward to reading it.
Ads Better in Print
Data from the “2011 Community Newspaper Readership Survey” indicates that given the choice, 8 in 10 respondents say they would rather look through ads in the newspapers rather than view ads on the internet. In fact, two-thirds of respondents agree that they often use newspaper advertising inserts to help make purchasing decisions. Similarly, two-thirds agree that they often seek out newspaper advertising to find information on the latest offerings and sales available in their area, and almost half say that there are days when they read the newspaper as much for the ads as for the content.
3 in 4 Are Frequent Readers
74% of people in communities served by a local newspaper read one each week, while 11% read one every day. On average, readers spend about 39 minutes reading their newspaper, up from 37.5 minutes in 2010, and share it with 2.33 people. Almost all readers (92%) pay for their local newspapers, with the predominant method being through subscription (67%) rather than buying from a news rack or store (33%).
The survey also suggests that older adults, residents who have stayed in their communities longer, and those with higher education read local newspapers significantly more than younger adults, residents who have lived at their current addresses relatively shorter, and those with less education.
These findings align with results of a December Pew survey measuring local business search attitudes, which found that the groups most likely to use print newspaper to research local businesses included those aged over 40 (especially those over age 65) and those who have lived in their community more than 5 years.
Majority Prefer Print to Digital
According to the NNA survey, 48% of community newspaper readers with access to the internet say they never read the local news online, with just 1 in 10 reporting they read local news online very often. Of those going online for local news, the leading source is the local newspaper’s website (52%), ahead of the local TV station website (25%), and sites such as Yahoo, MSN, or Google (20%).
About the Data: The results are based on 500 interviews completed via telephone in August and October 2011 targeted at communities across the United States where the circulation size of the local newspapers was 15,000 or less.