This past week marked the 75th anniversary of National Newspaper Week, an annual observance that underscores the impact of newspapers to communities large and small. The theme of this year’s NNW is “Power of the Press.”
To many in this digital age the term “press” may sound archaic, a relic of a different time. Yet, people still refer to the media as the press and statements sent by officialdom are still called press releases.
Many news consumers today may not look at an ink-on-paper product as their medium of choice. And, who knows what the future holds. But, one indelible fact remains - be it in newsprint or electrons, newspapers are the best source for the news and information craved and needed by society. This transcends demographics and generations.
Readers, regardless of their age, need the facts and they need accuracy. Some entities play at being news organizations, but newspapers are the real deal.
Papers have the staff, experience, tools, resources and, more importantly, the mission to inform and enlighten the public. That is what we do, be it in print, on line or on a smart phone.
In our free society, an informed electorate is crucial to the democratic process. Newspapers are also vital to this.
Here are some numbers from the National Newspaper Association:
• Average amount of time spent with each edition of their local community newspaper – 38.95 minutes
• Percentage who read all or most of each paper – 73 percent
• Most frequently read topic – local news
• Community market adults who rely on community newspapers as their primary source for local news – 51.8 percent
(nearly four times greater than the next nearest medium and ten times greater than the Internet)
• Believe their community newspaper’s accuracy is good to excellent – 71 percent
• Believe their community newspaper’s coverage of local news is good to excellent – 75 percent
NNW is sponsored and coordinated by Newspaper Association Managers Inc., a consortium of North American trade associations representing the industry on a state and provincial, regional and national basis. Although this is a national celebration, it really boils down to the local level – government actions, chili feeds and wedding announcements.
One behalf of the newspapers of America, we owe our readers a huge thank you for their continued loyalty. As society and technology have changed, the print media has grown and adapted to the new landscape.
This has been a struggle for some, but newspapers are not alone in rising to meet the challenges presented by the exponential development of the digital world. There is not an industry that has been immune to this.
What the future holds is unknown. It is certain that when Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type in the 1400s he had no idea what was yet to come.
But, just as sure as his contributions to the world remain relevant today, so do newspapers. In whatever form they may take, they are here to stay.