By National Newspaper Association
People prefer newspapers for their local news over TV and the internet, according to a survey conducted for the National Newspaper Association.
The majority of those who responded stated their preference for local news was:
- 33% local newspapers
- 30% TV (cable/local stations)
- 11% internet
- 5% radio
- 5% social media
When asked if there were any other sources where respondents got their local news, the majority, 19%, said no. Of the others who had picked another main source for local news, the community newspaper came in next at 18%.
- 56% of the respondents said they read a print newspaper that covers their community specifically
- 4% read their local paper online only
- 7% read it online and in print
The majority of respondents, 30%, have been reading their local newspaper for more than 30 years. The survey highlights the loyalty readers have for their local newspapers. Responses also included:
- Less than 5 years—14%
- More than 5 but less than 10—16%
- More than 10 years but less than 20—22%
- More than 20 years but less than 30—18%
The reason people stick with their local paper is because they want to know about what is going on in their community.
- 84% said they read their local paper for local news, information and obituaries
- 2% read them for state and national news
Newspapers have a strong pass-along factor:
- 46% share their newspaper with at least 1 other person
- 12% share their newspaper with at least 2 other people
- 10% share their newspaper with at least 3 other people
- 6% share their newspaper with at least 4 other people
- 8% share their newspaper with at least 5 other people
That adds up to 82% of local community newspaper readers who share their paper.
The respondents indicated that they are interested in their local communities.
- 61% read their local paper for school news somewhat often to very often
- 46% read it for local sports somewhat often to very often
- 60% read their local paper for the editorials or letters to the editor somewhat often to very often
- 51% said they read the public notices in their local newspaper somewhat often to very often.
Totaling all the respondents showed that 81% of the respondents read public notices at least some of the time. Contrast this with the number of people who visit their local government website:
- 46% said they never visit their local government site
- 25% said they visit their local government website somewhat often to very often
The local newspaper is an important part of people’s lives, according to the survey.
- 75% of the community newspaper respondents said they look forward to reading their paper
- 79% said they rely on it for local news and information
- 67% said it entertains them
- 89% said it informs them
- 79% said they find their community paper valuable for local shopping and advertising information
- 40% said they use the paper to help make up their minds about candidates and elections
- 54% said they trust their community newspaper somewhat to extremely well
- 46% said their community paper does a better job than other news sources of helping them understand the news somewhat well to extremely well
- 71% said their paper is extremely useful to them personally, from somewhat well to extremely well
When asked about paying for content on the newspaper’s website:
- 12% said they would pay to read the paper’s content from its website
- 64% said they would not be willing to pay for access to news if the paper said it was necessary to charge for internet access to support its newsgathering efforts
The survey was conducted by Susquehanna Polling and Research based in Harrisburg, PA. From March 6 to April 5, 2017 the company contacted 1,000 households across the country.