As legendary author Mark Twain might have said if he was alive today, “The reports of the death of the community newspaper are greatly exaggerated.”
For many years, we have heard that print journalism is going the way of the dinosaurs. We have heard that the public prefers to get its news from television, the internet or radio and that nobody is buying newspapers anymore.
We have have a hard time believing that, and a survey recently released by the National Newspaper Association validates our opinion.
The NNA commissioned a scientific survey regarding community newspapers, in which a Pennsylvania-based polling and research firm reached out to 1,000 people to discover their views on community newspapers.
What they found out may have surprised some people — at least outside the newspaper industry:
• A whopping 90 percent of respondents said that their community newspaper did a good job of informing them.
• Nearly three out of four people said their hometown newspaper provides important local shopping and advertising information.
• Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they read a community newspaper either in print or online.
On the advertising front, readers said they’re more likely to believe and respond to ads they see in their community newspaper than any other source of advertising.
Along those lines, community newspapers are rated as the most popular advertising medium (by nearly one out of every four respondents) when it comes to purchasing and shopping decisions at local merchants.
Last but not least, newspapers were chosen as the most reliable source of information by more than one-third of respondents, easily outdistancing other forms of media.
We believe one reason that community newspapers like the Powell Tribune are still highly valued is because we provide a very important service. We inform you on a variety of topics, including state and local government, local prep school and junior college athletics and even happenings with wildlife and in nearby Yellowstone National Park. We hold public and government entities accountable — a part of our job that sometimes does not get a lot of attention, but might be the most important part.
We also tell people’s stories, from a Powell resident who became the state’s first female high school football coach to a local teen recovering from a life-threatening crash to scientists studying moose in the Bighorn Mountains.
While we continue to develop our presence online and understand its value and importance, print remains a huge part of what we do at the Tribune. One of the members of our composition department has a small poster from Adobe Systems overlooking his desk that says these words:
“‘Print is dead.’ Funny how many times you can hear those words — yet the ink still flows, presses still run and print still works. ... You are print. We are print as well. It’s where we started and where we proudly continue to go. Print is alive!”
We couldn’t agree more.