Survey shows high readership levels for local newspapers

by Stan Schwartz
Managing Editor Publishers’ Auxiliary

Ninety percent of the more than 1,000 people responding to the National Newspaper Association’s 2018 readership survey said that their community newspaper informs them. And 73 percent said that their hometown paper provides valuable local shopping and advertising information.

The poll was conducted for NNA by Susquehanna Polling and Research, which is based in Harrisburg, PA.

In addition, 64 percent of survey respondents said they read a community newspaper either in print or online, which is a small decline from last year’s survey. When it comes to advertising, readers are most likely to trust and respond to ads they see in their community newspaper.

According to the survey, community newspapers rate as the most popular advertising medium when it comes to making purchasing and shopping decisions at local merchants, cited by 24 percent of respondents. Other less popular ad platforms include direct mailings, 18 percent, social media platforms; 16 percent, and in-store promotions; 13 percent. Readers of community newspapers tend to rely on newspapers even more, cited by 34 percent— far and above the most popular answer given.

NNA has continually fought to keep public notices in newspapers, as one way to keep an eye on what the government is doing with taxpayers’ money.

According to the survey, respondents rated the importance of access to public notices a mean score of 5.72 on a 7-point scale, including a combined 80 percent who give a high score of five, six or seven. Even non-readers of community newspapers agree that access to public notices is important, with a mean score of 5.66.

As most publishers know, the people who read newspapers are the ones who are most likely to vote.

When it comes to the coming mid-term elections, 84 percent of community newspaper readers are very likely to vote this year, compared with only 61 percent of non-readers. Plus, 77 percent of community newspaper readers say they voted in the last election in their local community, compared with only 61 percent of non-readers. This shows that readers of community newspapers tend to be more politically active than non-readers.

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