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Newspapers stay relevant in ever-changing world | Editorial

January 30, 2013 · Updated 12:43 PM
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“Nobody reads newspapers anymore.”

“It’s time for newspapers to go all digital.”

We’ve all heard those comments. Perhaps some of you reading this agree with those statements. We’re going to step out on a limb and say of these doom sayers, “They’re wrong.”

Sure, over the last decade numerous daily newspapers have abandoned print for digital-only editions, or have closed altogether. But most of those newspapers were in cities that had more than one newspaper.

The death knell for the two-daily town began to be sounded not when the Internet was born, but with the advent of readily accessible cable news (blame, or credit, the changing workplace too). We didn’t need to run to the newsstand on our lunch hour for that midday edition anymore. But we still needed and wanted a newspaper for the news and views closest to home.

That’s why the newspaper is a form of news delivery that still makes sense. Check this out.

In a 2012 Reynolds Journalism Institute survey of 1,015 adults, 62.8 percent of mobile and non-mobile media users said they prefer news stories produced by professional journalists; 73.4 percent believe professional journalists play an important role in our society. Only 35.6 percent expect to get all their news from mobile digital services within the next 10 years.

In a 2012 Newspaper Association of America survey of 2,518 adults who read U.S. newspapers on a mix of print and/or digital platforms, 66 percent said print is a relaxing way to read the newspaper, followed by tablet, 60 percent; computer, 42 percent; and smartphone, 31 percent. In the same survey, 61 percent said print provides a satisfying reading experience, followed by tablet, 60 percent; computer, 45 percent; and smartphone, 30 percent.

Newspapers continue to have value and reach for businesses wanting to connect products and readers.

In a BIA/Kelsey survey, of $151.3 billion projected to be spent in advertising in 2016, 13.2 percent will be spent in newspapers. Direct mail leads with 27.6 percent, television is second with 14.3 percent. Radio is fourth, 11.7 percent; online/interactive is fifth, 10.7 percent. The remainder is spread over cable, Yellow Pages, mobile, magazines and email/reputation/presence management.

So, dear readers, the next time someone tells you time is running out for newspapers, set them straight. The discussion should not be about newspapers vs. digital. The discussion should be about newspapers AND digital, and how newspapers can build on their use of new media to dialogue with readers.

The Sounder produces a Wednesday newspaper, a digital edition, a daily news website, an annual almanac and visitors’ guide, and a variety of special sections related to business, education and quality of life. We also have a significant number of Facebook followers. All of the media we produce — digital and print — are important to the survival of the other.

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