Readership Still Strong for Smaller Newspapers, according to study

 From the Reynolds Journalism Institute. Full story here

Newspaper readership remains strong in smaller cities and towns

CASR Research shows consistent trends

By RJI on December 21, 2011 

Readers in areas served by community newspapers continue to prefer
the community newspaper as their primary source of local news and
advertising according to the 2011 National Newspaper Association research survey. The survey, conducted by the Center for Advanced Social Research
(CASR), a program of the Reynolds Journalism Institute, shows that
readers prefer the printed copy to the online version, with 48 percent
saying the never read the local news online.

Since 2005, NNA has done research on how people read and what they
think about their local newspaper. Results have been consistent over the
years, even as sample and community sizes have been adjusted slightly

Other highlights from the research include:

  • 74% of people in communities with a newspaper circulation under 15,000 read a local newspaper each week.
  • 74% of those readers, on average, share their papers with 2.33 persons
  • They spent about 40 minutes reading their local newspapers
  • 73% read most or all of their community newspapers
  • 61% of readers read local news very often in their community
    newspapers, while 48% say they never read local news online (only 11
    percent say they read local news very often online)
  • Of those going online for local news, 52% found it on the local
    newspaper’s website, compared to 20% for sites such as Yahoo, MSN or
    Google, and 25% for the website of a local television station
  • 40% read editorials or letters to the editor very often in their
    newspapers, while 64% never read editorials or letters to the editor
    online
  • 80% think governments should be required to publish public notices in newspapers
  • Of those with Internet access at home, 89% have broadband access

The local community newspaper is the primary source of information
about the local community for 51.8 % of respondents compared to seeking
information from friends and relatives (16%) and TV (13.2%). Readers are
seven times more likely to get their news from their community
newspapers than from the internet (7.4%). Fewer than 6% say their
primary local news source is radio.

NNA President Reed Afinson, publisher or the Swift County (MN) Monitor-News in Benson, Minn., said the study demonstrates that citizens believe in newspapers.

“The survey shows a majority of respondents believe that the
newspaper does a better job of providing background and depth on stories
essential to citizens,” Anfinson said. “Further, the newspaper is more
useful to them personally than any other news source. It not only
highlights the strong bond between local communities and their
newspapers, but demonstrates that people do value good journalism.”

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