Americans have more media options than ever. We are inundated with stories, memes, videos and promotions 24 hours a day. Most of us are on social media, which is built to provide an endless feed of content to keep us glued to our screens.
And unfortunately, misinformation is prevalent and much of that content isn’t fact-checked, verified or professionally produced. The result is that we’re not always shown what we need to know, or the information that is most likely to impact our lives. That’s where local newspapers come in. Your local newspaper takes a different approach.
National Newspaper Week is a good opportunity to recognize the commitment that local newspapers make to the communities they serve. Your local newspaper is just that – local. It hires reporters who are trained to provide reliable information about the issues that matter most. Whether it’s the latest happening from the local school board, changes in real estate zoning, high school football scores or a review of that new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try, newspapers deliver what’s important to you.
Your local newspaper is far more than just print. In the ever-changing media landscape, local newspapers have evolved to true multi-channel content providers. From websites to apps, emails, newsletters, video and podcasts, local newspapers are delivering news in innovative ways. As a reader, you get to choose when and where to get the news you need, and no matter the method, can always be assured what you’re reading is credible and reliable.
Although the format or device readers use to connect with their local newspaper might vary, it’s clear that newspapers are relied on as the source for local news. A recent national study conducted by the independent research firm Coda Ventures shows that 79% of Americans use local newspapers to stay informed about their communities and depend on them to feel connected and to decide where they stand on local issues and to find places and things to do. Further, six out of 10 American adults use newspaper advertising to help them decide what brands, products and local services to buy. It’s clear that local newspapers are vital to healthy communities.
In spite of the new ways to connect with your local newspaper, it’s true that the newspaper industry is facing significant challenges. Rising costs, national competitors and the impact of Big Tech companies using newspapers’ content without compensation have all impacted your local newspaper. Now, more than ever, we need their commitment to journalism's core values. As we recognize National Newspaper Week, let’s focus on the vital role that newspapers play, and consider how we can support them. Subscribing or advertising in your local newspaper not only supports the newspaper but is also an investment in your community.
On a national level, the Community News and Small Business Support Act (HR 4756) has recently been introduced in Congress. This bill would provide local newspapers with financial support for their newsroom employees, and would go a long way to providing your newspaper with support for the reporters and photographers that are sorely needed. Encourage your members of Congress to support this bill!
Whether you access the content from your local newspaper in print or online, remember that it is produced for you. And behind the articles, columns, and images your newspaper produces is a team of local residents who are committed to making your community stronger! Join me in thanking your local newspaper – during National Newspaper Week – for the good work it does to keep your community informed.
Dean Ridings is the CEO of America’s Newspapers.