Local Newspapers Won’t be Missed by 42% of Americans

Local Newspapers Won’t be Missed by 42% of Americans

If predictions come true, and newspaper closures leave cities across the country without a daily newspaper, many Americans wouldn’t miss it, according to research from the Pew Research Center for People and the Press.

Nearly half (42%) of Americans say they wouldn’t miss reading their local newspaper if it were to shut down, and only 43% say that losing their local newspaper would hurt civic life in their community “a lot,” the study found.

The youngest age groups are least likely to miss newspapers. Among regular newspaper readers, 56% say that if the local newspaper they read most often no longer published – either in print or online – it would hurt the civic life of the community a lot; 55% say they would personally miss reading the paper a lot, writes Marketing Charts.

In the wake of recent, high-profile news about the shaky financial condition of many of the country’s newspapers, the public has become aware of the industry’s financial problems. 53% say they have heard “a lot” about the problems facing newspapers, while 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 TV stations than any other source. 68% say they regularly get local news from TV reports or TV station websites, 48% say they get news from local newspapers in print or online, 34% say they get it from radio and 31% say they get local news, more generally, from the internet.

Newspapers have long struggled to attract younger readers. A recent analysis of newspaper readership by Pew Research found that just 27% of Generation Y – those born in 1977 or later – read a newspaper the previous day. That compares with 55% of those in the Silent or Greatest Generations, born prior to 1946.

Far 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 age 40 (23%) say they would miss the local newspaper they read most often a lot if it were to shut down, compared with 33% of those ages 40 to 64 and 55% of those ages 65+.

However, many more of those younger than 40 (41%) say the shutdown of their local newspaper would hurt the civic life in their community a lot. 42% of those ages 40 to 64 (42%) express that view, as do 51% of those 65 and older. Among those who say the loss of the local daily paper would hurt civic life a lot, three in 10 say people rely on the paper to know what is going on in their community, the survey found.

Many of those who say the closing of the local paper wouldn’t make much, if any, difference in their communities note that there are other news sources available or criticize the newspaper’s quality. About three in 10 (29%) say there are other ways to get news, including TV, radio news and the internet. One in five say the quality of the newspaper is poor, while 5% say it is biased. One in ten say they don’t read the paper 9% say they don’t think other people read it either.

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