Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Community news and newspapers still important

Post contributed by Bethany Braden

The recent state of the media report mentioned that media revenue for daily papers is down, but there’s some good news for weekly papers.  In the Feb. 2012 issue of Quill, one of the features is about the Community Current newspaper in St. John Washington. The paper comes out roughly every month, and subscriptions cost less than $20. The paper is staying above water.
  The Current makes it work by practicing hyper local journalism, and they have been profitable each of the 18 years it has been in print. How can this be in a world where it is predicted newspapers are wheezing their last breaths? It turns out, according to a Pew study, newspapers “play a far more complex role in the civic life of communities than many people believe.”
  The Pew study  revealed that the local paper is where many adults go to get information on jobs, real estate, obituaries, local politics, government affairs, taxes and other civic issues. The problem, the study alleges, is that only a tiny segment of the population care about these issues. 

This brings me to a few other points:
·          Interest in these issues must be taught. Nobody gets up one day and says “I’d really like to know what’s going on with the government.” Children must be taught from the time they’re young that local affairs are important to us as well as to the next generation. This is a societal issue that has very little to do with economics, but an issue to address.
·          For those of us who want to find a job working with newspapers, these statistics provide an interesting perspective against the doom and gloom of hearing how newspapers are dying. The key, it seems, is that anybody searching for a newspaper job should seriously consider taking a position in a tiny little town to start with.  Working hard in a small town will further equip you to report for bigger papers later….and if there are no bigger papers to work with later, you have had the writing experience to adapt to an online job.

Sources -  For Love of Community, Quill (Feb 2012 issue)
How people learn about their local community: The role of newspapers,  Pew Internet & American Life report

BJB forgot to add title - now fixed


  1. I read your post. News paper is most important part for get all information about all over the world also have lots of advertising. I like this post.

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  2. It sucks that newspapers seem to be dying and that studies like the Pew Study show that newspapers is the place "where many adults go to get information on jobs, real estate, obituaries, local politics, government affairs, taxes and other civic issues." I agree that children's interest come from what they are taught when they are younger. A child who learns nothing about politics when he or she is young probably will not care too much when reaching teenage years or adulthood. Clearly, newspapers and magazines have their target audiences and if newspapers like Quill are not going to change to target younger people or others that aren't looking at the stock market or the classifieds, then there probably won't be much of a change. As the new generation comes along, they will be more likely to find these on the internet anyway. I'm not saying that this cannot change, but unless this publishing or other newspapers can deliver something new that websites cannot, finding new audiences will be a problem for years to come.

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  5. I enjoyed reading this post. As someone who hopes to one day contribute to newspapers, it is sad to see the decline in popularity of that form of media in recent times. This post does prove that newspapers are still maintaining a certain level of legitimacy, however my fear is that many people who still utilize daily papers are those who (often in old age) are not as confident in finding content on the internet. Unfortunately for newspapers, the web has made finding relevant and entertaining news an easier and quicker process.

    Great Post Bethany

  6. I think that hyper local newspapers have the advantage of limited content available on the internet. If there is only one major paper like here in Knoxville, whatever is not on their website is not always easier to find elsewhere, besides the paper. For someone to learn about what is going on here, they would have to subscribe to the paper because they do not put all of the stories are online.

    As for adults subscribing to it for "jobs, real estate, obituaries, local politics, government affairs, taxes and other civic issues," I believe that it is because they are used to reading that in the paper, think that it would be a hassle to find that information online, or do not know that they can get some of that information for free online.