Sarah Stultz: Want local news? Newspapers still top choice

Published 9:13 pm Monday, June 19, 2017

Nose for News, By Sarah Stultz

The National Newspaper Association ran an article last week discussing the results of a recently completed survey about local newspapers. The survey, by Susquehanna Polling and Research, based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was conducted March 6 to April 5. The company contacted 1,000 households across the country.

The survey found people prefer newspapers over TV and internet. Specifically, 33 percent said they preferred newspapers for their news about their local community. Next in line was TV, receiving 30 percent, and internet which only received 11 percent. Social media came in at 5 percent, as did radio.

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According to the article, 56 percent of the respondents said they read a print newspaper that covers their community specifically. Four percent said they read their local paper online only, and 7 percent read it online and in print.

Thirty percent of respondents had been reading their local newspaper for more than 30 years.

The article stated the reason people stuck with their local newspaper was because they want to know what is happening in their community. Eighty-four percent said they read the paper for local news, information and obituaries, while only 2 percent said they read it for state and federal news.

Here were some other interesting results that came from the survey:

• 61 percent of survey respondents read their local paper for school news somewhat often to very often.

• 46 percent read it for local sports somewhat often to very often.

• 60 percent read it for editorials or letters to the editor somewhat often or very often.

• 75 percent of respondents said they look forward to reading the newspaper.

• 79 percent said they find the paper valuable for local shopping and advertising information.

• 46 percent said their community newspaper does a better job than other news sources of helping them understand the news somewhat well to extremely well.

• 81 percent of respondents read public notices at least some of the time in their local newspaper. On the other hand, 46 percent said they never visit their local government site.

As someone in the newspaper industry, it was interesting for me to see these results, and I think it points to the strength of the newspaper industry.

The Albert Lea Tribune works around the clock to cover the news that is important to our readers, and we hope you find it as valuable as these survey respondents found their local newspapers to be.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Tuesday.