Readers To Local Newspapers: “We’re Just Not That Into You”

Mar 13th, 2009 | By | Category: Commentary, Podcasting, Video

Local news as we know it is dead.

But that’s not the biggest problem facing newspapers today. 

A bigger problem is that most readers are telling their local newspapers “I’m just not that into you”.

According to the latest stats from Pew Research, fewer than half of Americans (43%) say that losing their local newspaper would hurt civic life in their community “a lot.” Even fewer (33%) say they would personally miss reading the local newspaper a lot if it were no longer available.

Those who on newspapers for their local news are much more likely to see the potential shutdown of a local paper as a significant loss:

  • More than half of regular newspaper readers (56%) say that if their local newspaper stopped publishing it would hurt the civic life of the community a lot;
  • An almost identical percentage (55%) says they would personally miss reading the paper if it were no longer available.

What do you think? Is the loss of local newspapers a loss for communities?

Or are you, like most people, just not that into local newspapers?

Newspapers’ Struggles

People are well aware of the financial problems facing newspapers.

  • More than half (53%) say they have heard “a lot” about the problems facing newspapers.
  • 31% say they have heard “a little.”
  • Only 15% say they have heard nothing at all.

When it comes to local news, more people say they get that news from local television stations than any other source:

  • About two-thirds (68%) say they regularly get local news from television reports or television station websites;
  • 48% say they regularly get news from local newspapers in print or online;
  • 34% say they get local news regularly from radio; and
  • 31% say they get their local news, more generally, from the internet.

While the portion that get their news from the Internet is smaller than radio or newspapers, this portion has risen from nothing to 31% in the last ten years or so. 

More bad news for print: fewer young people than older Americans say they would miss their local newspaper a lot if it were to close:

  • Less than a quarter of those younger than 40 (23%) say they would miss the local newspaper they read most often a lot if it were to go out of business or shut down. 
  • That compares with 33% of those ages 40 to 64 and 55% of those 65 and older.

Image: hyperscholar, via The Biz

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