Blogs » Your Advocate: an editor's blog » Will newspapers be the last mass medium?

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We're analyzing new readership research conducted by Belden Associates. We still have hundreds of pages to digest, but the bottom line is good: The Victoria Advocate remains, far and away, the dominant source for news, advertising and information in the Crossroads region.

A few bullet points to consider:

  • The Advocate reaches 116,000 readers during a typical week.
  • Within Victoria County, nine of 10 residents read at least one edition of the Advocate, either in print or online, within the past week. Most of those, by far, still read the print edition.
  • Within our primary nine-county readership region, six of 10 read at least one edition in print or online in the past week.

No other media in the Crossroads region comes remotely close to this reach. That certainly doesn't mean we should rest on our laurels. We commissioned the research to give us insight into how we can reach even more readers and viewers. We'll be looking hard for these answers.

But I thought it was important to share this data in the face of so many national headlines regarding the death of newspapers. The bad news largely springs from metro newspapers owned by publicly traded media companies.

Family-owned community newspapers like the Advocate are much better positioned to succeed through the transition to the digital era. For another optimistic view of newspapers' future, see this story about private owners wanting to buy newspapers in Maine.

Sometimes I wonder if newspapers are their own worst enemy with the relentless negativity in their reporting about our industry. The fragmented media world is challenging, but it's equally, if not more so, for local radio and television. How often do you read a story about how fewer people are listening to broadcast radio these days? Or the coming end of local TV news?

For those living in rural areas such as the Crossroads region, this recent series by the Anniston Star is worth a look, too. "The Rural Blog" summarizes the series here.