I could pour over the pages of this Pew research study for days.
While combing through I stumbled on a little nuget that made this community reporter exclaim:
According to Pew, print newspapers are still how people learn about their local community. In this fun little interactive graphic, my beloved newspaper went mano-a-mano with local TV, radio, internet, word of mouth, print bulletin and “other sources” for its share of the city’s readership.
Newspapers came in first place when people wanted to know about:
- zoning/development (17 Percent)
- taxes (22 Percent)
- schools (21 Percent)
- local government (19 Percent)
- crime (36 Percent)
- Arts and Culture Events (25 Percent)
- … and community events (25 Percent)
Now, you might be asking why these little statistics validate me.
I am a strong advocate for hyperlocal news models. Always have been. Always will be.
Notice that Newspapers are only the first place people turn for information about in-depth topics. People who want to catch breaking news overwhelmingly turn on the TV (55 percent!) The internet takes second place in the breaking news category and newspapers barely register on the charts. The same holds true for job searches and restaurant reviews.
If you are wondering how to get a print product into consumers’ hands, then you must know what they will spend money on. Newspapers have failed to realize that people won’t spend money on breaking news. Drew the Town Drunk and his fender bender escapades aren’t exactly front page material either. Before the ink is even dry, the newsy basics have already been covered by the local TV and internet avenues.
People pick up newspapers expecting the reporters to tackle the tough topics like zoning, local government, crime, taxes, schools, … do I have to repeat the whole list?
Thanks for backing me up on this one Pew Internet and American Life Project.
These small, dedicated pockets of hyperlocal readership wont make someone the next Murdoch. But they just might help people be better citizens.
How exactly will newspapers do that? Well,stay tuned. My next blog post is coming. Fresh to you tomorrow morning.